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.

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