“Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it anymore. An interesting question to ask yourself at night is, What did I really see this day?”
- John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Do you think this is true? I do. With this beautiful, thought provoking quote, John O’Donohue challenges us to pay attention, to be mindful of our surroundings. The more we notice what is going on around us, and pay attention to the small, seemingly insignificant details of our lives, the more we start to live more fully and appreciate the gift of being alive.
Living in this new, exciting city, in unfamiliar surroundings, it is easy for me to take in things that are different. This becomes more challenging when confined to the home, especially in those countries where the lockdown is so strict they can’t even walk the dog or venture out at all. If I were in one room with my family, or living in a shack or confined space, this would become incredibly difficult. You would have to break it down even more. The sound of water dripping from a tap outside, an insect crawling across the floor, the strands of fabric in the carpet, sound of someone’s breath.
I am grateful my circumstances are not so dire and that here we can go out for a walk each day and in that walk and am able to take in my new surroundings. Walking in the beautiful expansive Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, one can be forgiven for forgetting you are in the middle of a city, let alone one of the busiest cities in the world. It is peaceful there. You can hear the birds and sounds of the insects buzzing. You are surrounding by huge, old trees and everywhere you look you see green. You can come across squirrels, ravens, ducks and swans. I watched a grey heron fly gracefully across the Serpentine and then spent a few minutes watching a fluffy poodle zig-zagging around the trees, chasing something excitedly through the grass. Observing our surroundings and breaking down the little details of each day like this, is something that also inspires my poetry.
Being in nature is so healing and taking time to stand still and take it all in, really seeing the details of the day, is a very comforting thing to do.
What did you see today?