“The Art of Noticing” a Book

Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.  Mary Oliver

I notice small things.  This probably started when I started birding and identifying plants in college.  Little brown birds become wrens, those spikey white flowers in a bog become bog orchids, rocks in a canyon tell stories.

As I slow down and notice things around me, the world becomes less chaotic.  When my cell phone is left behind and the portal to insanity shut off I can sit on the porch step and notice the honey bees probing in the flowers of autumn joy sedum and the variety of clouds in the sky.  Noticing helps me to be a more imaginative writer and artist.

A book, The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker, recently came to my attention via Austin Kleon’s blog.  I checked it out from the library recently and have been impressed by the plethora of unique activities that will get the novice and experienced noticer into prime form.  Enjoy taking a color walk, documenting odd things from a road trip like gas stations, writing a review of manhole covers or fire hydrants, start drawing, write a field guide to the dogs in your neighborhood, write a poem about the items for sale in the check out line of a store, stop talking and inventory what sounds you hear.

If you need help downshifting into observation mode this book has the tools to do so.  Who needs Facebook and Instagram for entertainment when one knows how to notice?  As a new hardback it’s around $15, or check it out from the library as I did.  Everyday life will become full of new adventures.

When All Else Fails, Bake a Pie

It’s late summer and the berries are ripe and the apples are coming on.  My sweetie and I have a tradition of riding our bikes down the road on a summer’s evening when the air is cool and picking enough wild blackberries to make a pie

Now, I am not the best pie baker, and sometimes I have been known to purchase a crust (Trader Joe’s is the best) but this time I dove in and made a gluten-free crust.  We both agreed it was pretty good.  Raymond likes Ice cream on his pie and I prefer yogurt.

Now the thing about eating a fresh-baked pie is that it’s pretty hard to be depressed about the world at large when you’re digging into a warm concoction of sweet berries and crust.  In that moment nothing exists but the pie and the people enjoying it.

Entering pie bliss…

Never baked a pie?  Don’t be intimidated.  Have someone show you how to bake the crust, watch a YouTube video or just buy one.  The fruit part is easy and it must be fresh!

Pie makes people happy. They should serve it at peace negotiations. Sit down at the table and serve the slices to the ones you care about. Serve with coffee, tea, and ice cream, or whipped cream if you prefer. Spread a little joy one pie at a time.

(sketches from my day planner)

Learn about the history of pies by watching this video