Tuesday, September 25, 2012

living more importantly

I am going to show off some of my grandchildren today with two photos I received recently. The one at the tops shows Millie: she'd gotten into the bowl of pears her mom had left on the table and eaten parts of five different ones. I love her look that says "Aren't I wonderful?" With the one at the bottom, my son-in-law attached this caption: "which of these doesn't belong?" (since one of the "princesses" is a boy). Obviously, Gabe didn't think anything except that he'd been having fun with his cousins.

I guess I'm putting these photos on my blog today partly because they both made me smile. They are, after all, my darling grandchildren who always can bring a smile to my heart and face. And partly, they also both made me think about how kids don't think the way I do. I would think I should finish one pear before I begin another--or, worse, that I should only allow myself one pear, even though they taste SO GOOD that I'd like another. I might forget just having fun with my cousins and think that I don't want to appear silly. In my grown-up thinking, I worry if something is appropriate or healthy or wise or silly or a waste of time or whatever. And there are good reasons that as we grow we learn to think like that. It's important to think mature, wise thoughts. But I wonder if too often I forget the joy that comes from not worrying, just for a minute, about grown-up things. The pleasure of eating a cookie before the salad (or, heaven forbid, in place of the salad). The joy of sitting with my husband in the backyard swing and simply watching the sunset when there is a stack of papers to be graded inside the house and floors to be vacuumed. The pleasures that come just from enjoying the moment and not worrying about the next one. Thankfully, I have these delightful reminders that there are, sometimes, more important ways of living.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

new things

When we were at the grocery story last week, we saw this fruit.
It's called a Jackfruit. It is the largest fruit that grows on trees. This one was about 20 pounds, but they can get as big as 80 pounds. I want to see the tree that can bear that kind of fruit! Jackfruit is common in Southeast Asia, but I had never seen one before going to the store. I guess the inside is full of pods that cover seeds that look like nuts--and the meat is VERY sticky. One source said that even the knife you use to cut open the fruit should be oiled because the fruit is so sticky. If it's cooked, I learned, the meat resembles chicken in texture (doesn't everything?) and can be a part of a vegetarian diet in that way.

Anyway, the jackfruit got me thinking about all the things that exist in this world that I don't know anything about. I don't even know they exist! Our lives--or I guess I should say, my life--are really sheltered in some regards. We have all this access to information (all I had to do was google the word on my phone, and I had more info than I wanted), but we still can't comprehend all that is out there, even just in our surroundings (not counting space or the depths of the sea). It's cool to think there will always be more to learn, but kind of daunting, too. So much to learn, so little time to learn it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There's a new show on TV by this name. The details of each episode change, but the general idea of perception (as presented on the show) is unique. What do we think we see? Is it really what others see? Can we trust the obvious? Or is there more?

I have some experiences with seeing something and thinking that it is something else in that first moment of viewing. I've often found that first impressions are often wrong. And yet, seeing is so much more. Smithsonian recently had an issue with three pieces about seeing and invisibility. In one study, researchers found that if observers were asked to count the number of times a basketball was passed among players, they totally missed the gorilla (fake) that walked through the scene partway through the study. Another short piece explains the art work of Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who has an assistant paint him so that he blends almost perfectly into his surrounding. I've seen some of his art before. It's a very compelling statement about invisibility, about perception, about seeing.

This weekend we went up to Swiss Days in Heber. In one of the booths, an artist sold photos of words--but the letters were bits of things in our environment--the curve of a railing, the notch in a tree. The artist saw in these elements, letters. And from these he created words that had meaning. It fascinated me because it showed me a different way to see.

We had parked in a field outside of town and ridden a shuttle into the fair. As we got into the car to come home, I noticed this tree.
It looks like the tree has dark leaves, but all of them are birds. When we shut our doors, they all flew up and around, like a big wind swirling leaves through the field. Then they settled back into the tree, again looking like black leaves.

In The Little Prince, we read that it is only with the heart that we can see clearly. In another book, Antoine de Saint Exupery says this: A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. 

How often do I see without seeing?