Learning to Notice

To improve curiosity and creativity, I’ve been making lists of what I notice. Rob Walker wrote about this topic in his book, The Art of Noticing.   He encourages readers to focus on the five senses as we seek to improve how we experience the world around us.  To improve noticing both the ordinary and the interesting, I’ve been making lists of my observations.  Here’s a recent list!

  • For the past few days, I’ve struggled to finish a book recommended for one of my bookclubs by someone who I respect. I argue with myself each time I struggle to finish a book that doesn’t excite nor engage me.   Why do I use my precious reading time to read something of limited interest?  Although this book, Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George, was difficult reading, I know I’ll remember it as it caused me to think more deeply about the shipping industry about which I knew nothing until reading it.
  • On Friday night we enjoyed the first barbeque of the year!  It was a bonus that the event was held at our son and daughter-in-law’s home with our grandchildren.  Everyone was ready for something special — even our 3-year-old grandson who remarked on the excellent taste of grilled food. Who says young children aren’t observant? We can learn from them!
  • I’ve been noticing the March swings in outside temperatures.  My part of Ontario has had highs of 18.5C  that melted the ample snow cover to lows of 2 degrees.  I’ve walked in short-sleeved t-shirts and also come back to the house for my toque on cold windy days.
  • Despite the temperature swings, daffodil shoots are sprouting in my front garden where it gets ample direct sunlight. The first sightings of robins feeding in the back garden are a sure indication that spring is coming.
  • Finally, my body is reacting to the annual time change to Daylight Savings Time.  Mostly it’s an adjustment to losing sleep and learning to eat at different times of the day.  Why can’t we adopt one time and stay with it instead of doing the ‘spring forward — fall back’ every year?

Learning to notice the mundane and ordinary things around me will require that I develop new eyes, new ears, new tastes, and a new sense of smell  — in short, a new perspective.  Watch for future posts!

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