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Today someone said the dread words to me, "I can't believe we're going to have a storm tomorrow like they say. It's so beautiful today."

Am I the only one who\'s noticed that that always happens? For some reason, the day before a really big storm is always a beautiful day. I once worked in a convenience store, and when you do that everyone makes weather conversation with you. It was then I noticed that people always remark on how nice it is before a storm that brings eight inches or more of snow. And yet, it seems strange to them every time. They just don't believe it's going to snow tomorrow because it's nice today. How long have you lived on this earth, people? Get with the program! Shouldn't you be able to recognise elementary clues to the weather after all these years? Do you really need the TV to point everything out in order for it to seem true to you? Do you know that there is still a real world out there which is not yet altogether hype? And you were born a part of it?

Everything else is the creation of someone else's mind. But the earth and the living things in the wild are real, they have a total integrity of being. I would rather talk with a rock than with most people, because a rock won't lie. There it is, its own statement of irrefutable truth. And the weather doesn't relate to us through a middleman known as the weatherman. He's not a priest of the weather god, standing between you and the weather each day. The weather relates directly to each of us.It's real, our world happening to us. It's something we can learn about, and absolutely anyone can, by looking, eventually see something no one else knows about, something that would surprise even an expert. Because the truth is, no one looks very closely at what is truly around. If people would focus and see what really makes up their world, look closely at what is actually present, and forget everything that's just a supposition, they would be amazed at what they would see. And they would learn to inhabit their own space, those cubic feet they take up at any given time. Becoming fully aware of evey aspect of the natural is the same as getting in touch with the supernatural.

I could go around and take fifty pictures in Nazareth, and I'll bet I would get twenty or thirty that even people who have lived here all their lives would say were definitely not here. Because no one really looks. I spoke to the man who lives in the house closest to the woods, I think it was two years ago. I said I thought (although I knew) that a fox had a den in there. He said, no, there had been foxes in there years ago, but there weren't any now. I didn't tell him, but the den was within sixty feet of his house, and I had seen the fox tracks pass within twenty feet of his house after one of the snows, right down the lane past his front windows.

It's the same with plants or birds. People say, how can you tell them apart? But they're as different as people, and every bird song you hear is as recognizeable as the first few guitar licks of your favorite song. It's nothing hidden. It's seeing or hearing what's really there, without your mind getting in the way. If you've ever tried realistic drawing, you may have learned that the best way to get a good likeness of something is to turn the picture you're copying upside down. That way you draw what you see instead of what you think you're seeing. Because the mind's idea of what something is causes you to perceive it wrong. But turn it upside down, and it's just a bunch of lines and blocks of color. You copy it as you see it and it comes out true.

There's a real world that all this TV and computer and thinking and talking is obscuring from you, and it's the world you live your life in. Go out there, and keep your eyes open.

When one man has reduced a fact of the imagination to be a fact to his understanding, I foresee that all men will at length establish their lives on that basis. ---H. D. Thoreau

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The following comments are for "Get with the program"
by Icarus

"program" notes
For no good reason, I'm reminded of Fran Lebowitz's description of the sun as "that harsh overhead lighting so unflattering to the heavy smoker" (or something like that.) I don't have that problem, but I must confess that I'm one of those folks who goes for long periods without spending much time outdoors because I find it inconveniently full of UV rays, biting insects, and allergens. I'm a weenie.

Yet as March dawns, I'm aware of my own cabin fever. I want to start taking my morning "walkie," circumnavigating the intertwined cul-de-sacs of our subdivision, watching the budding trees of the neighboring cemetery and keeping my eyes peeled for that skunk I can smell. I need the sky and the air to clear my mind, grown cluttered and musty over a hectic, emotionally taxing winter. I need to move briskly in open space for longer than it takes to get from the door to my car and vice versa. But damned if it didn't snow last night, so I have to allow extra time to clean off the windshield and wait out the inevitable traffic jam on the way to work. Tomorrow I may just have to bundle up and venture forth into nature, snow or no snow.

Thanks so much for the reminder that the world should not be mediated through the media. (Or something like that.)

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: March 1, 2005 )

Lameness breeds wonder
Looking at the natural world has a tonic effect on people, whether they realize it or not, because that is what our senses and the mind that interprets them were designed for. It's an exact match.
It's not just nature we don't usually see, of course, but all things as they really are, whether clouds and hawks or buildings and asphalt. Nature is just what adds the random factors: the cracks in the sidewalk, the lichens on the walls, grass through the parking lot, pigeons on the roof, starlings chattering on the wires.
I feel I must add, in the interest of full disclosure, that maybe I wouldn't be seeing all the stuff I see if I had a more satisfying and engaging work and social life. To paraphrase Bartholomew, "How lame is my life?" But it's opened the door to a myriad of wonders.
[Making a trip to Ohio Thursday, but we won't reach Y. Springs. Thanks for commenting.]

( Posted by: icarus [Member] On: March 1, 2005 )

Second Sight?

How true, and if you take a little time to look and listen you can journey everyday into something new that you have 'seen' many times before!

'Becoming fully aware of evey aspect of the natural is the same as getting in touch with the supernatural.'

This is an interesting comment, and one I totally agree with. Both are only hdden to us by our own restrictions, it is truly as you say:

'It's seeing or hearing what's really there, without your mind getting in the way.

Things we take for granted become invisible to us and everything we see is hidden behind a lifetime of familiarality, sometimes even closing your eyes can show you things you had never noticed!

Good write and I for one will be taking a second glance because of it,


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: April 7, 2005 )

new eyes
I enjoyed this before but I just didn't feel "commenty". I'm pleased to have found it again by following a comment. I never cease to be amazed when life reveals things previously overlooked. Thanks.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: April 7, 2005 )

Glad if you're looking . . .
Thanks, guys. Just read an interesting article about the famous autistic woman, Temple Grandin, in which she says that the ability to generalize, which also causes us to miss the real things around us, is the main drawback she notices in non-autistic people. Great article in Discover, the science magazine.
If you see any cool stuff out there, pass it on!

( Posted by: icarus [Member] On: April 7, 2005 )

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