“And if she did not remember these things who would? After she was gone there would be no one who knew the whole of her life. She did not even know the whole of it! Perhaps she should have written some of it down…but really what would have been the point in that? Everything passed, she would too. This perspective offered her an unexpected clarity she nearly enjoyed, but even with the new clarity, the world offered no more explanation for itself than it ever had.” – Evening, by Susan Minot
I woke up thinking about last night’s mad dash to post a few October stills while October still had breath in its body. As if this blog was my very own Pinterest board to remember life with a few little links.
Then as one thought always leads to another, I began thinking about all those October moments — no less important — that passed without an attempt to preserve the moment. No written words. No images, published or otherwise, at least in my possession. Like,
- last Sunday’s final Moveable Feast for the year, a rare event where every family member sat in attendance,
- a cute almost 10 month-old Reese Caroline dressed up like a little lamb for her first Halloween, so unhappy in her costume you’d think she was being led to … (no I can’t say it…),
- the beauty coming forth in the east garden, once a forgotten side yard used to grow weeds and hold leftover stone,
- the nine Nellie Stevens hollies planted on Saturday — doesn’t this sound like it belongs as a stanza in the Twelve Days of Christmas?, and
- my new kitchen finally finished… except that I’ve decided to repaint it all again.
And the list lives on into infinity.
And then I look up to see the morning light casting this lovely November image on the wall — the very one that became header for this post. Perhaps, I think, it’s a gift for All Saint’s Day to remind me that what we see is not all that’s there?
I reach for my camera to capture it. To find, with no surprise whatsoever, that it wasn’t at all what I saw, it wasn’t at ALL what I experienced. Not by half. Because what I observed was so much better and richer than what I’m able to preserve.
I post a few words and images knowing, even as I write, it’s not necessarily the best of everyday life or even the best of me. But sometimes, yes sometimes — perhaps when the light is just right, and maybe’s it when I’m most aware of the play of the light and shadows, that a few words are born into the blog that mimic life in the moment enough to breathe shallowly upon the page.
A still image begins to sway and dance so that it’s a trick and treat to the eye. Mere slats from my window blinds cast shadows on the wall which mysteriously transform into a musical staff; the shadow of curled ironed work of the floor lamp looks like a treble clef; and something — I’m not sure what — maybe leaves on the tree outside my window? — begin to jump up and down the lines looking like musical notes dancing upon staff lines.
The shadow and light become a symphony like this.
And I think: Can life get better than this? If life is like THIS every moment of every day, then there’s no such thing as an everyday life — at least, as. everyday is commonly thought of — COMMON. PLAIN JANE. VANILLA. Dare I say….BORING?
And because of this mind set, and our own lack of attention — for surely I’m not alone in attention deficits — is it any wonder we can’t know the whole of our lives?
So true and yet, the longer I live, the more I realize the great beauty in those plain, Jane, vanilla moments especially when they’re stolen from time. Happy All Saints Day my blogging friend. May you have many of these beautiful moments for the rest of the year.~~Dee
Nice film clip. Great observations … the shadows of leaves dancing on the musical score… lamp as a treble clef. You’ll make one good indie filmmaker. That’s why those who’re used to watching Hollywood action movies find art house films ‘boring’. ‘Nothing happens!’ they’d complain, not knowing lots already passed by. Thanks for this wonderful post showing us exactly that, Janell.
I’m not sure there really are plain Jane vanilla moments — perhaps it takes scratching the surface to find the riches, or taking a moment just to be still and quiet our mind so that we can see what’s staring us in the face — but I’m thinking there’s hidden beauty and mystery all around us, just waiting for our notice.
Thanks for the good wishes — I need them since I so live in my own little world. And I wish the same for you.
ps As I think about it more, I think we’re expressing the same thought — with different words? Aren’t we?
I confess you wowed me with your words. But I shouldn’t feel so — because in the spirit of my comment to Dee — it only took noticing what was already there.
Of late, I’ve been thinking about the art experience — how art meets us where we are — sort of like how a Pixar film has a little something for everyone. My younger Grand’s enjoy it on one level, the older Grand’s ‘get’ a little more and those of us with a little (or a lot) more living under our belts catch the humor aimed only at us. I think Linda of A Task at Hand expressed something similar in her recent art museum post.
I’m not sure why some of us enjoy ‘shoot-em-up” action flicks while others (like me) prefer those exclusive showings of art films. In our town, art films are shown either at the Quail Springs Mall or appropriately, at our downtown art museum. Neither offer long runs. One has to act quick to see art films here — or wait to buy them on Amazon.
But I very much like the thought of how ancient cave art (to connect the dots to your current post) can exist for thousands of years without our knowing it — that the art riches of another era are just waiting for us to take notice of them. it. I wonder if “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” is showing here — or will show here. It’s something to explore — which will prime me for reading Jean Auel’s latest in her “Earth Children’s” series. I’ve heard bad reviews but I have to read it anyway!
But really – is it our lack of attention that causes us to have the “foreshortened view”? Or is it the nature of life itself – unknowable except from the horizon of eternity?
I’ve always loved the concept of a surplus of meaning. We can analyze, construct, reconstruct, deconstruct, re-analyze anything – a poem, a painting, a life – and still there is something that escapes us, something beyond the meanings we are able to grasp and verbalize. Perhaps in other times this was called mystery.
I love your comment – what I observed was so much better and richer than what I’m able to preserve.. I experienced that after my trip, as I was going through the photos. I think for even the best photographers, the image always is a reminder of the reality, and not the reality itself. It just isn’t possible to capture the total experience.
Sometimes that’s why I think writing has it all over photography and painting. With words, you at least have a shot at getting at the complexity of it all. Photographers and painters, of course, would seriously disagree!
And by the way – it took three times through this blog before I realized it was a lamp and not a dress form. 😉
Of course you’re right in saying full knowledge is beyond us no matter how observant we may be or become. But — being the unobservant person I am and have always been — the very one who has missed seeing loved ones in their own cars waving at me as if life depended upon my notice — in grocery store parking lots and sleepy neighborhood intersections with four-way stops — becoming more aware of my surroundings — is at least a beginning, without which, I’ve no hope of scratching the surface. This last image makes me think of those ‘scratch ‘n sniff” cards in magazines — hoping a free sniff will send us to our local perfume counters to purchase the real thing.
Your words about your recent vacation photos resonate with my own experience — how they are simply icons to reality remembered. And I think as I get older and have more ‘senior moments’ where I become scary forgetful — as I did last Monday at the ATM — photos and words will become even more important, as links to past and present that march forth into the future like soldiers bearing a security blanket of knowledge — just in case I turn into Daddy and forget myself (and my loved ones) for a while.
So it’s okay it took you three times to notice the form was not for dressmaking but to hold light bulbs — ultimately, you figured it out. Meanwhile, I don’t think my family members even bother waving me down at street corners or where ever anymore — or maybe they do and I just don’t hear about the incidents anymore. After all, It’s nothing new under the sun.
We have a beautiful sun climbing the east sky as I close. For now. 🙂
I’m just astonished to hear you call yourself unobservant. I never, ever would have described you that way. You’re as skilled an observer of the interior life as I’ve known – although I suppose that might tend to make those waves at the stop sign a little erratic!
I’ve never thought about it this way; and girl — your words make me feel good!
SO what I’ve always called “being lost in my own little world” is just me focusing inward rather than out. But as with everything in life, there is a middle way of trying to keep one foot here and the other there. Or one foot in and the other out, and now I feel I’m doing the hokey-pokey….
All the talk of feet, along with your words — remind me of the way St. Paul talks of the body of Christ — how feet or head or eyes or hands share equal importance. (“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you. And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.'”)
And of course, you know, this was all analogy for how we each need the gifts of others to become more whole. So thanks for sharing your gifts of observation with me — for in your sharing — I now feel more whole.
A very good way to start this cold November day… where the gauge reads thirty degrees F.