The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.~Marcel Proust
My Uncle Tom once said he could see more on a short trip into town, barely a mile distant from his home, than most people perceive on a long journey.
His powers of observation made him wise to the ways of everything from the workings of watches to the habits of the click beetles and other of nature’s less respected creatures that held his fascination in a childhood before television.
Though in some ways I tend to be a big picture person, I do share my uncle’s appreciation of things most people ignore. I often seem to see details others overlook whether I’m viewing photographs or driving down rural roads. So it was with not a small amount of surprise that I recently realized I had overlooked a lane leading to a home on a road I have traveled nearly every day for the past twenty seven years. I had never noticed the break in the foliage at the road’s edge or even the large mailbox facing the thoroughfare at the lane’s end, discovering them only upon seeking the site described in a story by a former resident of the home at the end of the long, winding drive.
If I, one who tries to be aware and appreciative of my surroundings could have overlooked something so obvious for so many years, I wonder how many of life’s delightful details are missed by members of the younger generation, whose gaze seldom strays from their smartphones.
Expansive works picturing glorious gardens by Monet may be beautiful, but sometimes we need to see through the eyes of Georgia O’Keefe, whose paintings portray the fine features and intricate interiors of flowers, something most of us fail to look close enough to notice.
Note: I became aware of the long overlooked lane thanks to Burn It Down, a book by Alice Twitchell, compiled and edited by JoAnn Shade of Gracednotes Ministries. The work is an enchanting account of Mrs. Twitchell’s move, some years ago, to a rather neglected farmhouse near Mifflin Ohio.
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