Friday, January 28, 2011

Other People's Thoughts

I have a page of quotes in a file on my computer. Now and then I browse through them to see if they still grab me in the same way. I spend some interesting hours looking at my life through other people’s eyes. Some examples:

"A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner." Louis L’Amour

My own head, house for my own thoughts, is decorated with cheery scraps of bright ideas amid the mundane, more serviceable notions I entertain. I reside inside my thoughts, creating with my hands a place for the rest of me to live. My mind is aswirl with thoughts that didn’t originate there but grew from seeds planted by others, notions heard or read that I’ve mulled over and mulched and pruned and grafted until they’ve become hybrids. They are my thoughts now, some as familiar as an old bathrobe, some as new as a housewarming gift. My thoughts, my things—looking at them this way is like coming suddenly upon my own reflection, realizing, “Oh! That’s me!” simultaneously with, “Is that what I look like?”

"All really great thoughts are conceived while walking." Friedrich Nietzsche

I would have agreed wholeheartedly until I remembered that most of my great thoughts came to me while exercising my backside in the rocker by the window. Or when I’m in that nebulous place between sleeping and waking, or when I’m leaning against a tree staring into the sun-dappled woods, or lying prone in a meadow with the great blue bowl of sky overhead. I walk briskly when I need to work things out and slowly when things need mulling over, but my comets seem to fire most when I’m at a standstill.

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." Aaron Rose

Too often, I think, we hold back from realizing the ordinary can be extraordinary. Too bad. Look at what we miss by relegating the familiar to such a judgment. We don’t notice how often the rising sun paints the morning sky the color of rose petals, how it gilds the grass, and casts long shadows that shrink to puddles by noon. How, late in the afternoon, the light can take on a shimmer and how, when evening draws the day to a close, the sun sinks behind a canopy of crimson velvet clouds, trailing bright banners of pink that fade slowly into dusk. We think of snow as a nuisance we have to plow, ice as something designed to make us slip and fall, rain as a dampener to all our outdoor plans. Our lives take on narrower boundaries. We look, then, to the exotic to stimulate and please us, believing to our own detriment that what is familiar is too common and plain to ever be wondrous.

"Life ain’t nothing but a funny, funny riddle." John Denver.

Thanks Hilary


Brian Miller said...

i am down with OPT, yeah you know some nice wisdom you gathered...wish i was better at riddles...smiles.

JeannetteLS said...

What a good idea for your post. I was particularly drawn to the last three quotes. I think that there have been writers who could not walk, but perhaps the point is that the thoughts come when we let our minds go blank, as when we walk. But I LOVE the last paragraph, particularly, both the message and how you put it. In fact, it's inspiring my next blog entry, speaking of OTHER people's thoughts inspiring our own. And, of course, the last quote hits home and makes me smile entirely. Great post.

June said...

To suddenly see the ordinary with new eyes is a great joy. All we need to do is . . . notice.

signed...bkm said...

Love all but John Denver's encompasses all... Do miss him ..bkm

Hilary said...

As lovely and thought-provoking these quotes are, I find your own words and thoughts highly quotable. Beautifully written.. as yours always is.

Tabor said...

I like the way you evaluate yourself against the quotes. They don't always fit even though they are good quotes.

steven said...

friedrich might've tried getting a bike. or stepping into the shower. or rocking on a rocker. your words after aaron rose's words entirely resonate with my own sense of the world at this point in my life! steven

Marion said...

Superb idea for a post! And so beautifully written, as always. I really like the quote by Aaron Rose...I'm glad I see the extraordinary in the mundane. So very well done, Pauline!

Pauline said...

Brian - me to, sometimes

Thanks, Jeannette - I will have to come and read that

June - it puts your eyes and mind to good use ;)

Me too, bkm, me too

Hilary - that's an extraordinarily kind thing to say :)

Tabor - that's the cool thing about quotes. You can bounce them off what you already think and then take issue or take them in :)

Steven - your life is so in tune with nature

Thank you Marion - you see the extraordinary, too

herhimnbryn said...

Walking for thinking always works for me. The ordinary and beautiful details of things, I seem to notice more as I age.

Thanks P for a great post.

Pauline said...

HHB - I love coming to your place to see and read about all the things you notice :)

deb said...

I completely agree.

and heart John Denver ;)

Gaston Studio said...

Plain and simply just a beautiful post. Congrats on POTW from Hilary!

Friko said...

My best thoughts come either when I'm running on idle
or more likely, when I am solitary, walking or doing anything mechanical, when thoughts roam where they will then hit an obstacle which turns into a puzzle first;
by the time the obstacle properly comes into focus I have usually solved the puzzle.

Or talking does it, one of the wonderful, searching conversations with someone you know well and admire; when together you are groping your way to daylight in a particularly knotty problem, philosophical, practical or just abstract.

Thinking is wonderful.

Congratulations on POTW. which, is of course, the reason I'm here.

Lori said...

I too keep a file for quotes and enjoy going back and reading them, much for the same reasons as you. I really enjoyed your thoughts on each of these quotes. Congrats on POTW mention at Hilary's!

Sky said...

such an interesting post, pauline! my thoughts often come when i am reading or writing. sometimes i am led down a totally different path than i realized i was on. sometimes i take issue with the words, stop for a while to digest and think and begin my own journey to somewhere else entirely.

Barbara said...

Wonderful post - a very well-deserved POTW! Many of my own thoughts hit me when I'm in the shower of all places!

Meggie said...

What a wonderful 'familiar' post! I often ponder on these things and find I so agree with your thoughts.