Billy Collins falls in love with a mouse, a seamstress, a bowl of broth and his soap among other things. We all fall in love on holiday, when we see new beautiful things. But our eyes are so used to our everyday surroundings, it takes effort to notice anything really. That’s okay, it would be extremely hard work to always have to consciously do everything. I wouldn’t know where to begin with walking, for example. And that’s super efficient and excellent, but it does mean the brain is set up to take a lot for granted. On top of that it gets a bit carried away with imagined problems or thinking about the past. Both useful things our brains do to keep us safe, help us achieve our goals and learn lessons but sometimes we struggle to pay much attention to the present moment because of this. And isn’t that kind of where life is?
The poem reminded me of a horrible day walking back from an appointment when exhausted and lost in anxious thoughts. I looked down at my boots and saw they were covered in cut grass. Suddenly I was brought into the present moment. I do like the smell of cut grass and something about the grass all over my boots made me smile. I think it made me feel the delight of getting messy as a kid.
Now obviously no amount of wet blades of grass ruining your boots is going to solve your problems, but it did make one of my many moments of life on planet earth pleasant, nay delightful even. There are plenty of mundane, boring and distressing moments so it’s good to add some weight to the right side of the scales. And the more you do it, and the more you notice it, the more your brain looks for and finds these (sometimes slightly ridiculous) little lovely things and the more lovely moments you have. And you don’t have to go anywhere special to find them. In fact I have found quite a few just sat on my sofa staring out the window.
The purples, greens, black and white of magpie wings, spread wide against clear blue sky.
Magpies – urban peacocks
The moon visible during daylight
The fuzzy bottom of the bumblebee
The tiny landscapes of tree trunks and branches
Newly emerging tiny leaves and baby pine cones
Sunlight through petals
A tiny ant scaling a green mountain
The perfect dandelion clock
The delicate skeleton leaf