April 2, 2006

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Life Lessons: Look! Look Until You Really See...

Several weeks ago, we talked about starting the day with five-senses centering, a way to anchor yourself, at least for a moment, in the here and the now. When I walk out my short driveway to get the paper first thing in the morning, I listen to the sounds of the world waking up. I also take a look at the new day dawning...

I'm always truly stunned when I read studies, statistics, of all that our eyes take in during the course of each day. That is NOT to say what we look at, or what we see, both very different from what our eyes scan, a myriad of images that may be imprinted on some snippet of our brains.

In the early morning, after I've listened to the world waking up, I start to look around, always checking the rising sun and night/day sky first. I so, so love light that the first day-rays are terribly important to me, to say nothing of reveling in the glorious, ever-changing colors of the varying seasonal sunrises. Often the second half of the old seaman's adage, "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning" comes to mind. In the winter, the sun may not even have cleared the tree-line of the horizon, while in summer it may already signal a blazing hot day ahead.

Are there any clouds this morning? Low, thick, billowing ones, maybe heavy-laden with rain or snow? Or high , thin cirrus clouds heralding a fine, fair day? Gilded by sun? Moving in what direction? Are there any stars still visible? Oh, usually Venus of course, but in the dark-dawn seasons, I check for old favorites Orion, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Pleiades.

And remember, it's taken me far, far longer to write about this part of five senses centering than it's ever taken to just pause... and... look!

My gaze comes down to earth, to the yard, to the trees, to the flowers in their seasons. Believe me, no matter what the time of year, in this place where I've lived for over forty years, there IS something new to see each and every new day! Sometimes, I'm just noticing that a piece of rain gutter has come loose, or I make a note to trim back the gone-by lilac blooms. Or maybe I realize the neighbor's dog is coming to visit me. No matter what I notice, it's always the evidence of the passing seasons that makes this piece of the morning ritual so very... rich!

The incredible glory of the slanted winter sun on diamonds of snow, or on shimmering ice-encased branches never, ever grows old. The uncountable shades of... white. The shadows of blues and purples and grays, so, so many subtle and delicate tints.

In spring, every single morning brings new greens, thickening buds, unfurling blossoms. More and more birds darting about. The sometimes-reluctant awakening of the perennials. After a Maine winter, the light now seems clearer, stronger, richer, deeper, yellower!

Glancing around the yard on an early summer morning sometimes brings an almost blinding abundance of beauty ~ every imaginable color and shape, combined and mixed, just strewn about in a new way every day.

And then, there's fall... First the goldenrod in August whispering, "autumn, autumn." Then, there's one particular maple tree with a small cluster of leaves that almost always turns red in late August, w-a-a-ay before any other leaves in the yard. There's the heart-filling, Jack-Frost foliage of October, and the few tattered leaves lingering in late November winds.

Just as listening through the layers helps to center us in the here and the now, so, too, can looking, truly looking until we see, not just with our eyes, but see the wonders, the gifts, of each new day with our hearts and souls.