What I See by Karen Joy Fowler
But I had a big birthday this year, sixty years on this earth and counting, which prompted a number of sober reflections. Prominent among them was a concern that I have stopped paying attention to the physical world around me. I won’t be here forever. So I should be here.
I used to leave the camera at home when I traveled. I felt it got in the way of the actual experience. Now when I travel, I’m on the web as often as not. When I have to stand in line somewhere, I read a book. Most mornings I take a long walk on a cliff-top path with the ocean below. I’m dimly aware that I’m walking through a place of great beauty. Also activity! There are surfers and pelicans, sea otters and dolphins, joggers and street people. There are dogs. (I myself am on a leash.) But I am walking briskly, for the exercise, and my ipod is setting the pace so I don’t hear the water or the birds or the cars or the bicyclist who’s desperately honking to get past.
Often I don’t even hear the music. I use the time to think. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a very good use of time. I just don’t want thinking to be the only thing I do.
I want to establish the habit of paying attention and I figure if I’ve promised to post what I see, then I’ll have to manage to see something. Just one thing! Starting tomorrow. How hard can it be?