I finally managed to walk the whole loop that constitutes my favorite walk. When I get into the park, most of the way I can see a view of the San Francisco sky line. Somehow that always grabs my attention, off to my right, so I rarely even look to the left. Today it occurred to me that I should check out the sight lines I normally ignore and suddenly to my left there loomed this gorgeous tree. So much of life is like that. At least for me. I wander around with my focus in one direction and vast amounts of things that are outside my focus are never seen.
Years ago I realized how differently we all focus when in the space of several years I had experiences while walking with a woman (different one each time). I’d be walking along noticing a sunset or a tree or the architecture of a particularly nice old building when the woman would ask if I’d seen the guy who just flashed us. In each case, given our world views and especially our attitudes toward crime, I found it somehow not surprising that I was looking at something else and that the particular woman I was with had seen the flasher. But I’ve always been fascinated about how two people on the same walk can have such different experiences of what’s along the way.
Since I’ve been on this visit I’ve found myself eyeing the bottom of the yard and examining a picture I took last year (the one on yesterday’s post) in the park next door. I lived in an apartment that used to be a separate part of the house for almost seven years and I’ve done this house sit regularly for quite a few years and in all that time I never realized that when I’m stopping to take a breath in that cool valley near the end of my walk I’m standing feet away from the bottom edge of the yard.
So today as I walked along with phone in hand and set on camera I turned in the gully to snap a photo. The bramble is so thick down there I couldn’t actually get more than a sense of the edge of the yard but just beyond the view in the photo is where the park and the yard meet. All that time here and that little fact eluded me.
It’s a reminder to me in the study of mindfulness and presence that as I get caught by the too-great flow of information and struggle among the many demands for my attention, there is so much unnoticed – right in my own backyard…
This post if for Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday, which is Y today.