Sunday, August 7, 2011


We had a few days out in the country at Shabo-Mekaw, where I was able to take some time to do nothing.  Or, more precisely, I may have appeared to be doing nothing, but I wasn't- I was noticing.  I had to think awhile to figure out what to call it...  I was walking, yes, but not all the time; sometimes I sat down, or just stood in one spot for a while. At the same time, I may have been thinking- or not. Intermittently, I took photos as well.  Well, so what?  It's not really an astounding feat of multi-tasking genius, is it?  Hardly.

What I was really doing is looking at things.  Observing- closely, and carefully.  Noticing.  That's not so unusual, either... it's just that sometimes I notice things most people don't seem to think are worth noticing.  For instance, I can be perfectly absorbed and enthralled for hours just roaming around the island, looking at rocks (or plants, or sticks...).  One thing I noticed on Friday is that the patterns of spots and dots on many of them are quite beautiful, reminding me of abstract paintings.

 The response of many people, if I say, "Look at the spots and dots on those rocks!" is either to pay no attention while saying something like, "Uh-huh", or to smile politely while thinking that my head is full of rocks, or both.

I'm sure these experiences sound familiar to some of you, and I would guess that this kind of noticing is part of what makes someone tend to become a visual artist.

I don't see it as a problem that most people wouldn't have noticed that the rock and the leaf are color-coordinated...

...or that the spots on this rock, when viewed very close up...

...are actually little funny-shaped crystals.

And while I was pondering all this, I noticed something else.  It occurred to me that my favorite things to do as a child- exploring and noticing nature, and making things- are exactly the same as what I most love to do now.  The essence of me, my most authentic and basic self, hasn't changed.  What I noticed, I guess, is that I've never grown up!  And I believe that's probably a very good thing.

What about you?  What did you most love to do as a child- and are you doing that now?


  1. i feel like i'm noticing more than ever this summer, and the more i notice, the more enthralled i am with the world around me...

    my absolute favorite thing to do as a child was to climb the apple trees in our yard and then sit in them and look at the world from a high vantage point. i felt so close to those trees...


  2. j'en suis sure, que les prochaines peintures seront encore plus belles avec une telle inspiration!

  3. Oh Sharmon -- you are a great noticer! I'm so glad to know there's another person out there who spends time looking at spots on rocks and other "useless" but wonderful things ;~) John and I spent a couple of hours in a creek bed recently doing much the same thing, though I didn't come back with such lovely pictures. Sometimes if I'm hiking with a group I drive everyone crazy because I want to go slow enough to look at EVERYTHING.

    Do you know Mary Oliver's poetry? (You would like her.) She states "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. " Yes!

  4. Really noticing nature is such a relaxing and resourcing activity and one of my most favorite things to do! I also seem to be doing the same things I loved as a child, making things and playing outside. I've recently rediscovered embroidery (and sewing), which I did a lot when I was little.

  5. Thanks for visiting, Elfi!

    Collage whirl- I'm so glad to hear you're still involved in your childhood passions. I've started using more stitching in my pieces, too, and am really enjoying it! Thanks for commenting!

  6. I had to back track though what you have been up to- and this little post really made me smile. There is better than an hour or two dedicated to "noticing". Well nothing better except a whole day of noticing.

    What I like about this post is remembering how I used to do this as a child- without the need to justify or explain what I was doing. You have me pondering how to transform a defensive stance into one of sharing a wonderful gift - Thank you for this post...xo teri

  7. Fascinating images Sharmon!
    loved going on this voyage of discovery with you!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.