Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Deer TracksThis is a little nothing-much, posted mainly to see how I feel about posting. If you’ve been following my recent exploits, you know I’m just a week into recovery from surgery – the minor-but-major removal of my gallbladder – and I haven’t felt much like writing. Or even turning on the computer.

But today I felt pretty good. Woke up at 7 a.m., lay in bed thinking and reading until almost 10 a.m., then got up and … well, got a great deal done.

I cooked chili and then cut fruit for a big bowl of fruit salad, cleaned the entire refrigerator, went to the YMCA and had a very light cardio workout, went to the library with my laptop and spent about two hours transcribing voice notes, went to one of the little coffee shops and had a vanilla mocha and studied in a book I ordered not long back (“The World Cafe,” which is about a targeted conversational technique that helps participants discover the genius of groups), went to Staples for some office supplies and the supermarket for groceries, took out the trash, went for a walk along the river with a friend in blustery 25 degree weather, and ended by eating a bowl of the aforementioned chili (and some of the fruit salad) and then reading about 80 pages in A Storm of Swords.

I don’t have a lot of stamina as yet, so I went to bed about 7 p.m. But then I lay there feeling vaguely guilty that I wasn’t on my feet still doing things.

So: Here I am, sitting up in bed, writing.

One other thing happened in the course of the day. I noticed the magic.

I have a young friend whose approach to the world seems to consist largely of the cynical, world-weary “Show me something! Impress me! Go on, I dare yah to try! You got nothing!”

Yet today when I walked through town to the coffee shop and then along the river, I was amazed at how beautiful everything was, and how interesting.

I had a couple of good Life teachers in my cowboy days one of them my boss and friend Lou Roeser, who taught me to make the effort, every day of your life, to see the magic in the world around you.

Honestly, the lessons were sometimes annoying. I’d be heavily dressed for the cold, working hard to brush and harness and hitch up our team of draft horses, big blond Belgians Duke and Dan, for an evening sleigh ride at the guest ranch where I worked. And here would come Lou.

“Hank, come out here for just a second. Come, come on out here.”

“Lou, I need to get this d—”

“No, leave that. Just take a second, I want you to look at this.”

Long suffering, I would trudge out and look. And there would be the full moon rising over the snow-covered mountains. Or the last light of sunset, kindling orange fire on distant peaks. Or just the knife-edged silence of the crisp winter evening, with snow-covered ground stretching out in a white blanket to the foothills of the Sierras.

I would look. And sometimes I would See. See how lucky I was to be here, witnessing beauty most of us today never get to see, much less notice. Splendor. Magnificence. Magic.

I called Lou and his wife Marye last night, to thank them both one more time for giving me that gift, the gift of seeing. Of noticing. Of understanding that you must take the time, make the effort, to notice.

If you make that effort, not only are you more likely to notice the truly magical stuff (which your friends and neighbors will mostly miss), you will also come to realize that even commonplace things are deeper and more wonderful than you’ve ever imagined.

Even better, the effort eventually becomes automatic, and the whole world seems like Disneyland.

Not all the time. But often enough to keep you happily awed.

Anyway, my advice: The world is a very cool place. Make the effort to notice.

  • Pteryxx

  • Zeno

    This is a lesson I know, but remember too seldom. Thanks for the reminder. Another thing that reminds me: glimpses of the moon.

  • procrastinator will get an avatar real soon now

    Good one Hank. It’s a fascinating world we live in and on.

  • sheila

    Ah yes, the moon. Have you seen this yet? I promise thatit will be 3:45 minutes very, very well spent.

  • Karen Locke

    On a geology class field trip, we were camped in Owens Valley, California. Our instructor woke us at dawn. I rolled out of my tent and just stood there, shocked: the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains to our west were lit up by the dawning light, the most amazing shade of pink. I stood there and watched while pink turned to orange, yellow, then white as the sun rose. Pure magic.

  • keresthanatos

    To Shelia re #4 wow, no words for the best three minutes I have spent today only tears of joy… thank you!!!!!

    To Hank, thanks for reminding this cynical old fool that magic still exist !!!!

  • StevoR, fallible human being

    Yes. Well said, well written – and hope you get well soon Hank Fox.

  • Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    *Hugs* for another citizen of the Earth who looks around once in a while!

  • thumper1990

    Aw man, I so need to take that advice. I remember when I was a kid the second I stepped outside I’d be momentarily awestruck at how awesome life was, before running off to grab a friend and go climb a tree (Seriously, I spent all my free time up to about 12 years old in the local woods, up a tree. We even had names for the trees that were particularly good to climb). I don’t get that nearly as often any more… and when I do, it’s only ever when it’s sunny. I used to like winter too.

    Funnily enough, I think the awe went away around the same time I started watching the evening News…

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