The sky through our car window this morning

The sky through our car window this morning

Have you ever seen a sky that particular color with the sun shining in that particular way?  I never have before.  It’s a miracle what we see each day outside our doors and windows. 

I have this theory:  it’s very dangerous to name things.  To call things by names such as rocks, cattails, swamps, rivers.  So often, once we assign a name to something, our mind automatically labels and categories it.  Then, the next time we see, say, a rock, the mind dismisses it as “just a rock” and refuses to look closer and truly see what’s there.

Secret hieroglyphics in my favorite rock

Secret hieroglyphics in my favorite rock

Did anyone lean closer to look at the secret hieroglyphics?  I must admit to provoking you to peer deeper at the rock.  Do you see the wavy dancing movements in it?  The stone literally moves with indentations swirling through.  However, we might miss this if we glanced briefly and allowed our mind to label it “just a rock” and move on to the next picture which might be labeled “just a bunch of cattails”.

Before the mind labels them, just look.

Before the mind labels them, just look.

I learned about the perils of naming and labeling back in the early 1990’s when learning all about wildflowers and plants.  Suddenly a new world opened up and I ran breathless between white and yellow and purple and blue and golden and orange blooms rising out of the earth.  What was this one?  And that shy beauty?  And that multi-splendored blossom?  I bought piles of identification books and began to pour through them, locating the exact replica photo and announcing with definitive joy “That one is a wild aster.”  “This one is a jack-in-the-pulpit.”  “Oh and that one is the nodding trillium!”

However, something strange then happened.  The minute the beautiful-unknown-mysterious-absolutely-magnificent flower was named, I lost fascination with it.  On to the next unidentified species.  And to the next.  The flowers never shimmered so brightly as when I truly peered at the nameless creatures, truly present with them.  At that moment it could have been anything.  Anything!  Later it was just an “aster”.  Alas.

Nope, don't know what marsh beauty this one is...

Nope, don't know what marsh beauty this one is...

The challenge, if we must learn names in this lifetime, is to refuse to let the names deaden our perception.  Let’s call things by their many beautiful names, but allow our sight and smell and touch to linger beside them.  To refuse to allow our mind to limit the magnificence and uniqueness of the individual tree, or plant, or animal…or person.  (OK, what’s the name of that plant in the above photo?  Anyone know?  I promise not to lose fascination with it…)

Speaking of people, the eight or nine women at book club last night sat out on the deck in 70 degree temperatures.  What a delightful summer-like experience in mid-April. (Thanks to Emma at treehousejukebox for pointing out that I had originally typed mid-May.  It has something to do with the “Dreaming of Summer photo blog below, I’m sure.)  However, I must lament that summer beat a fast retreat and today the thermometer hovers at 39 degrees.  Does that feel cold!

Here’s a local scene (Three Lakes) which shows the inland lake still covered with ice but the summer rowboats ready to launch when it melts. 

Dreaming of summer?

Dreaming of summer?

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