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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Noticing

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." 

Although I wasn't oblivious to my surroundings before I read Alice Walker's words in 1982, her observation has been a beacon of sorts for me ever since. Do you recall a similar awakening you've had about noticing your surroundings?

Becoming a parent in 1989 was probably the next significant breakthrough for me. Soon after my daughter was born, I recall having a cup of coffee that tasted better than any I'd ever had. A few days later I wrote a song called "Everything Is New" about the things I was noticing; it remains one of my favorite creations. And as my daughter was growing up I found myself paying a lot more attention to commonplace stuff so she and I could have conversations beyond the usual "How was your day?" etc. It worked - I noticed more, she tried to do the same, we connected. Those words from "The Color Purple" definitely played a role in this.

Early in the a.m. recently I was thinking about a blog post and happened to glance at Walker's book on my shelves. Moments later I was focusing on the sounds coming from the two appliances I'd used to make my breakfast; the coffee maker has a higher pitch than the toaster oven - hadn't noticed that before. I turned on the microwave for 10 seconds to hear that pitch. Then I set the alarm on the oven and waited to hear that go off. I'm not sure God would be pissed I'd not noticed these pitches before - they are surely not as majestic as the color purple. Still, I'd stopped to notice something I hadn't previously. Good enough.      

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