Yesterday, Clif, the dog, and I went for a Sunday walk up the Narrows Pond Road. It was one of those beautiful August days that was so perfect—so warm, dry, and sunny—that I wished I could hold onto that day and just keep it for use whenever the weather is bad, which it often is in Maine. But alas, good weather, like good times, cannot be held.
Up the road, on the right, there is a small meadow that is full of August wild flowers—black-eyed Susans, purple loosestrife, golden rod, and Queen Anne’s lace. I knew the light would be good, and I brought my camera along. When I go for walks and take pictures, quite often I am alone with the dog, and I have to put the retractable leash between my legs while I take pictures. I must say, it is much easier to take pictures when Clif has the dog.
I came to the little meadow, abloom with flowers. Clif and Liam continued walking while I took pictures.
The other day, I was taken by Susan. On this walk, I was taken by Anne. I didn’t plan this, and I was reminded of Gabriel Orozco’s “The poetic happens when you don’t have expectations.” I’m not sure if my fascination with Queen Anne’s lace was poetic, but I certainly didn’t have any specific expectations on this walk. There was only a general sense that I wanted to take pictures of the wild flowers. But on this day, Queen Anne’s lace took center stage.
On another walk, it might be something else.
It seems to me that one of the best gifts we can give us ourselves is the freedom to notice. And from this noticing, who knows what will happen?
I’ll end with a quotation from the great essayist Verlyn Klinkenborg, who was writing about the eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White. “He recorded what he noticed and in the pattern of noticing lies the art.”
We can’t all be be great artists, but maybe by noticing we can bring a little art into our lives.