Stop and Smell the Chlorinated Fountains

Do you ever stop in the middle of pulling weeds, press the fresh green to your nose, and breathe in the truth of it?

As you travel in your car, windows rolled up, do you pay attention to the breathtaking sense of motion, of speed?

How about looking at the color of people’s eyes, noting the variety of spectacularity the iris has up its sleeve?

Ever stop and smell the roses, literally?

The joy of observation has long been cited, and I agree that there is something truly invigorating about enjoying our God-given senses, reveling in them, not just using them to… survive. Sure, eyes are great for looking both ways before you cross, but you can look up and down and all around, too. No, you’re not just watching for snipers (though that is a security measure I also advocate), you’re looking for beauty.

Beauty, and anything of interest. Spot the strip of moss in a sidewalk crack, appreciate the trees bursting with white blossoms (even if they aggravate your allergies). Watch the sparkle of the sun on that SUV’s bright green paint job, and laugh at the crumpled paper cup, the one that looks like a face scrunched in discontent.

Try it, I mean it— stop and listen to a street musician, really look at that statue you drive by every day. Run your fingers along the fence, listen to the soft thwunk thwunk thwunk of your hand hitting the metal railings. Play the toddler, once again wondering at the blue of the sky, pressing your face against the back of the chair just to know what it feels like.

Reveling in the senses is healthy pastime for every human, but if you’re a writer, I would doubly recommend it. Sight, scent, sense of space and motion– this is the stuff descriptions are made of, and fully experiencing a thing allows you to bring it more fully to the page. Truly observing your world makes it easier to depict your own, to see your own in the first place.

And I will be surprised if prose –perhaps even poetry– did not spring up triumphantly in a wordsmith’s mind, not unlike that crashing park fountain they stopped to drink in.

…Um, figuratively, people. I do not advocate the imbibing of chlorine-laden liquids.

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9 comments

  1. Absolutely luscious writing– and a damn solid point. I agree entirely; people should take the time to really live through their senses. They’re the only true source of information we have, after all. Use them! Wonderful post.

  2. Ah T, I so enjoyed the reminder to really notice the world around me. I am a creature of observation but sometimes, in the bigness of it all, often the minute (though not necessarily inconsequential) details can go unnoticed. I will make a point to be open to those delights today. Thank you!

    1. Ah, true– infinitely big pictures are made up of infinite details, and there’s pleasure to be found in every setting on the microscope (or telescope).
      Thank you, Joiex, and you’re very welcome. ^u^

    1. Yes, babies are Grand Noticing Masters, and their apprentices are forced to learn well, the old grasshoppers. X) But yeah, good to take classes in Noticing whether you apprentice to a Wee One or not.

  3. An eon or so? You were locked and loaded when you told me that! Harrumph!
    Your point is an excellent one. In my incarnation as photographer, I am always looking for an opportunity to present the beauty or oddity or simplicity or magnificence of our shared world through my lens. The challenge is to ‘flatten’ the perspective of five senses into one, the visual. Quite different from ‘word painting’ but requiring the same appreciation and wonder that you entreat. Carry on, dear Wordsmith!

    1. Heh heh– I had not written this, or even gotten the idea for it, when I told you that. Then the muse hit and I worked fast (lest said muse strike me again, the abusive beast!)
      Yes, I suppose ’tis the task of every artist to share senses; feelings of every sort are such a large part of ideas, are they not? Snap on, fellow artist, and I shall type. 🙂

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