Driving today, coming down the river valley with the slanting afternoon Sun hitting the trees across the river and setting the changing leaves aglow with the fire of autumn, I noticed a woman sitting on her back step smoking a cigarette. The back of her house faces away from the river. The front has a wrap around porch with rocking chairs and a beautiful view. I started thinking as I drove across the river do people get so accustomed to beauty that they no longer see it? Is it possible that the woman on her back step no longer sees the glory of the river in the fall? I notice this often in my travels, when I pull off the road to look at a beautiful formation of clouds or a sunset that stuns me or a flock of snow geese against a brilliant blue sky.
I'm the only one stopping to look in my little area, my small piece of road. Maybe someone is stopping elsewhere but I don't see them and I wonder can I be the only one that sees this? Are people so immersed in their day-to-day lives or their cell phone conversations that they no longer see what's happening all around them? What does this mean for us? If no one sees beauty and no one recognizes it when it's there or acknowledges it will we continue to value it? Are we running the risk of becoming so self involved that we will no longer pay attention to the world around us? I wonder when I think of these things what the ramifications are for us as humans. I believe that it is imperative that we pay attention to our world, the world outside of our own heads and our own technology and keep our eyes on what's important, what's real.
In my mind there is nothing more important in the moment than the sight of the Sun setting amidst the clouds over the river valley or deer grazing in a field covered with low-lying mist or the joyful sight of children playing out on their front yards. No matter what is happening in my life, how busy or preoccupied, or how filled with misery and despair I am, I still notice. These are the things that give me hope, that make me feel connected and a part of the world and that's how I think I would like everyone to feel. It saddens me to see the beauty around us being ignored and the world around us being abused.
If we don't care enough about beauty to keep this world a beautiful place I do believe we're doomed. I often wonder what people think of me when I stop my car and lean against the trunk just to look. Do they wonder what it is that I see?
Or am I being insensitive to the lives of other people, their worries, their errands, their day to day concerns? Maybe they do take note, but just don't have the time to stop. I hope so.