Sometimes I catch myself thinking (with frustration)– what is the next great idea I can come up with for my work? Then I remind myself that paying close attention to the ordinary, the common things– that this is where the magic resides. And this is how I open my eyes.
I was disturbed by the "tree eating machines" that were taking down our ash trees, stricken with the Emerald Ash Borer, and went out for a walk. I went off the path in the woods and found a fallen ash tree lying across the field. When I removed the bark, I discovered these beautiful patterns:
Today is the first snow of winter, the coldest day in November on record here in Kentucky. I went for a long walk in the woods, listening. The silence that snow brings creates space inside me. The only sounds are the wind gathering in the branches and the waterfall. The gray juncos in the bushes are quiet. Every now and then a chitter from the high trees.
I am reminded of this poem by Wallace Stevens, inviting us to have a "mind of winter" and the willingness to open our eyes to what is right in front of us, to behold "nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
The Snow Man, Wallace Stevens
What is ordinary in your world that you are exploring and rediscovering?