I like going out to enjoy some classic fall color as much as anyone, and when I have a good friend to share in the experience, it's even better. But I especially seek out the moments when what I'm looking at gets lost in pattern or texture or some other tiny disguising details.
When reflections on water become a Gerhard Richter painting...
And a fallen leaf is transformed by an overgrowth of algae.
After a few big plans gone awry, I'm a little leery of making choices. In my down times, I fear choosing incorrectly and continuing down a path of destruction and disappointment. In my better times I realize that many choices are not right or wrong, and that out of my losses have come unexpected gains that I wouldn't trade for anything. This morning I went for a walk in the woods and was reflecting on choice, and also on the beauty that can exist within the temporary. Here are some thoughts.
I've kept this blog off an on for a few years now and have approached it in a variety of ways. It's been a travelogue, a journal, an art gallery, a place to sort out my struggles, and a place to share some of the cool things I come across as I go about my days. As my posts have evolved to be longer and more complicated, they've also grown more infrequent. I miss posting regularly. And I especially miss taking a little time out of the day to express something simple, personal, and with a little more substance than is typically accepted on Facebook. Right now I'm in the middle of a major life change, and I feel I could benefit from a consistent practice of seeking out, composing, and then sharing something uplifting. When I get in the habit of intentionally looking for the good in life, I often find it. Making this the default approach to my day-to-day has not always been easy. So! "Starting Today", I'd like to set a goal to go about living with an eye toward beauty, be actively curious, seek out little treasures hiding in unexpected places, and then share some of what I find here--simply and without too much pretension.
This afternoon I went on a walk around Oberlin for the first time since returning from New Mexico. The sun finally made an appearance, and I was reminded that pretty much the best time to be in northern Ohio is RIGHT NOW! Fall is just starting to show its colors, wild fields are still lush and blooming, the air smells sweet and warm, and bunches of little critters are still hopping, flying, and scurrying around through the vegetation.
...for amber waves of...ornamental prairie grass.
I found myself mesmerized by the iridescent sheen of a fly as it stood atop the breast of a decaying catbird. I admired the fine detail of feathers that would soon disintegrate, and imagined myself as a vast collection of reassembled bits gleaned from dirt, and dust, and countless little lives that preceded my own. Elements present in my hair that lived in the feathers of a bird; atoms in the tip of my finger that lined the retina of a prehistoric wolf; traces of water molecules that may have spewed from the mouth of Old Faithful; iron in my blood once suspended within a shockwave sent out after the death of a star...perhaps one observed and studied by distant eyes I'll never see.
Not to be morbid, but when I die, rather than moldering away inside some shiny box, I'd prefer to fall apart quickly--turn into a sprinkling of wind-blown dust and let all my little bits rejoin this cycle of decay and reassembly. Think of all the little things I might turn into someday!