Saturday, January 03, 2009


The pond across the road from my cottage. It is one of nature's ever-changing paintings.

Theelementary posted a delightful piece of writing about looking at familiar things from a different perspective. It reminded me of a post I wrote two springs ago. (You'll notice a reference to greening grass and budded branches. We're a far cry from that at the moment as more snow is falling.) Anyhow, in the interest of recycling, here it is again.

Ancient wisdom suggests we look at each day not as if it was our last, but with new eyes, as if every day was our first. Finding that thought compelling, I step out into the sunrise and am struck by the beauty and the mystery of everything around me. What would it mean to see grass for the first time, green and growing, each blade individual and new, rising from the dried and tangled mat of last year’s growth, yet each shoot blending and waving with its counterparts until they spread out before the eye like a verdant sea? Imagine the wonder at touching a bare foot to the dew-drenched stuff, seeing an imprint dark and mysterious appear, then watching it fade as though you did not exist as the sun rises and drinks the condensation.

What of the lilac tree by the door, its trunk gnarled and twisted, the bark rough and scaly, the branches dusted with the bright green of spring-coiled leaves waiting to open? If you had no word for tree, no language to describe the budded arms that would soon be brimming with lushly scented flowers, wouldn’t the wonder of it all sweep you away?

I leave my yard to walk along the edge of the pond in the growing light and watch the sun coat the ripples with silver. Last year’s dried oak leaves dance toward me in a sudden gust of wind even as this year’s prepare to unfurl. I look up and my eye is caught by the movement of small birds high over the pond, swallows perhaps. They are too far up for me to tell, but their joy is clear as they swoop and rise and sail out over the water and back, diving and skimming and soaring again and again. The sun touches the undersides of their wings so that they seem to float on feathers of pure light.

The wind swoops through the tops of the pines, rushing from one to the next, whispering green secrets. The boughs rise and fall as though breathing and I am caught up in the sound and the rhythmic dance of needles against sky. Then the wind is at my feet, whirling the loose sand into miniature cyclones before blowing off across the open fields, losing itself in the woods at meadow’s edge. Later in the afternoon and into the evening as the light wanes and the day’s colors melt into darkness, I will walk once more beside the pond, watching the water, different water now, new water, make its way to the falls. I will understand again that nothing lasts, though nothing appears to change, and tomorrow and tomorrow I will see again with new eyes the same ordinary things.


Lisabeth said...

Beautiful pic and story. But since I have some interest in history, I am not sure that seing nature with new eyes for the first time would necessarily mean we would have been swept away with the beauty of it. Through history, people have often feared and fought nature more than loving it.

The beauty we see in nature is partly something we have "learned" to see, I believe.

Barbara said...

Maybe it's old eyes and new things tomorrow and tomorrow. No two days are ever really the same. It's that continuum of the seasons and the life and death cycle that make us want to gaze again each day just to note the change.

Java said...

Oh I love that pond, I remeber last years pics too.
I love seeing green sprouts in a burnt down field, the little sprouts just popping up every where and so bravely fighting again for survival. Awesome post.

red dirt mule said...

Dearest Pauline,

You live in such beautiful surroundings - i'm definitely envious! i'm not so sure i'd give up my pond even for england ...!!

This theme keeps 'popping up' right now in my life. I wonder what the significance is? Yodood had posted a quote on New Years from Marcel Proust saying the same (in a shorter form of course). I've copied it in my sidebar ....

Maybe it's a bit about letting go of 'controlling' life; and just accepting each day as it comes with an open mind.

thank you for the words. i'm taking them with me up to my ponderin' tree.


Pauline said...

Lisabeth - perhaps. Thanks for visiting.

Barbara - it's the intention, the willingness to see ordinary things in a new or at least appreciative way.

Hi AD - yes, it's the same pond. It looks like a different place with each season

RDM - harder to do than say, yes? Mules climb trees? Or are you just sitting down under it? ;)

red dirt mule said...


haaaaa! in the south 'up' means walking up to the mailbox or up to the store .... or up north where yankees live ..... four climbing legs would be a sight, now wouldn't it?

no. i just lean against the tree, a ponderin' while i chew on some hay or fresh grass ... sometimes i scratch myself a note on the trunk of the ponderin' tree (a BIGGG oak). i've got lots of notes .....


meggie said...

A lovely picture of spring in your world.

Roberta S said...

Pauline, I so totally enjoy how you describe how you see things -- and make others see them always with new eyes.

I'm going for another dog walk tomorrow with my warm toque and three pair of pants on. I'm going to try to look at the sparkle of frost mist in the air and the deep snow with new eyes. You'll know I succeeded if I can put something into words, but I kind of think not. Unless it's some very sad, depressing, lament.

Pauline said...

meggie - another three months and it will be again

roberta - lol! your laments make great reading!