“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
Kudos to one of our important American writers for being succinct; he also of the phrase, “simplify, simplify.” Even back in the 19th century, Thoreau thought people were too caught up in the trappings of life. He worried what the belching smoke from the new-fangled locomotives would do to the air. He urged people to live simpler lives and to take stock of their surroundings. Does that mean Thoreau was a loner because he enjoyed peace and quiet?
Loner has such a negative connotation. Why, it could lead to being anti-social. I don’t believe that for a minute. It is possible to enjoy time alone and not be anti-social. I should know, as I spend a fair amount of time by myself. It’s never bothered me to spend time alone. Does that mean I don’t enjoy people? No, it doesn’t. I enjoy people a great deal but there are times I need and want to be alone. I’m more apt to become bored in a crowd than I am by myself.
There’s a great deal to be said for sitting quietly and watching what goes on. When I rented at the lake, one of my favorite activities was to swim to the middle of the lake and float on my back. Staring at the sky and watching the birds was very calming. A bonus was a sighting of plane contrails far up near the heavens.
A fun thing about kayaking was the silent glide of the boat. I loved to travel through the lily pads, watching the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks, skimming across the water quietly. Sometimes I just sat in the kayak and watched. It was always a soothing balm for any stress I carried.
I take time to stop and smell the roses when I pass them. If you happen to be with me, I will probably strike a silly pose as I do so just to remind you of how much of a doofus I am. I will always stop to watch horses run in a field. It’s such a beautiful sight to see them stretch out their legs and gobble up the distance. Snowflakes landing on my jacket may distract me for several minutes.
At my previous house, I planted several window boxes of wax begonias every spring. As the summer waned and the stress of the school year loomed, I’d sit on the back steps and watch the bees collect pollen from those flowers. It amazed me to watch them stash the pollen on their legs as it looked like they were utilizing saddlebags. The peaceful feeling that washed over me gave me strength.
I see so many things on any given day that cause me to say to myself, “Wow, that’s amazing.” It matters not to me that many people don’t view life this way. And I don’t mind when some allude to the fact that I’m a loner. I’m not, really. I enjoy my time alone or my time with others.
Take some time to smell the roses, or look at a unique shade of clematis; watch kids skateboard and do fabulous tricks; enjoy the silly antics of birds as they swoop to and from feeders; just spend some time really looking at something. You will find you are no longer seeing, but feeling.