Looking at Things

February 26, 2016

“Looking at things is never time wasted.”
— Diane Athill, from Alive, Alive Oh! and Other Things that Matter

Buds are starting to pop!

Buds are starting to pop!

 

“In this book, I am looking for what I miss, every day, right in front of me, while walking around the block.”
— Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking:  Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes

The book On Looking

The book On Looking

“What an epiphany to reconceive a city . . .”

I really like the idea of this book.  In it, Alexandra Horowitz takes short urban walks with eleven “experts” in various fields, and as they share what it is like to notice things through their eyes, Horowitz herself begins to see with new-found vision and understanding.  The eleven walking companions are:  a 19-month-old toddler, a geologist, a typographer, the illustrator and writer Maira Kalman, a field naturalist and insect expert, a wildlife biologist, an analyst of pedestrian movement, a medical doctor, a blind woman, a sound engineer, and a dog.

I was hoping one of her experts would have been a horticulturist or botanist, because it is most likely plants that I attend to on the walks in my neighborhood.  It would have been instructive to compare notes.

I know one thing.  This book will prompt you to go out for a walk around the block in your neighborhood.  Here are a few photos of a late winter walk through my eyes and camera lens:

Crocuses

Crocuses

Rhododendron bud

Rhododendron bud

Witch hazel

Witch hazel

Sunlight through kale leaf

Sunlight through kale leaf

New leaves

New leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Lessons

January 17, 2010

Prayer wheels outside the Sakya Temple for Tibetan Buddhism, Seattle

“Pay attention, tell the truth, be kind, and find things to appreciate and enjoy every day.  Try to learn something from everyone.  Be open to wonder.”
     — Mary Pipher, Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
     — Thich Nhat Hanh