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Never Again! (In a Good Way)
TAoN No. 136: In praise of the fleeting. Plus Dept. of Inspiring Readers, and more.
Marek Piwnicki on Pexels.
On a routine bike ride the other day, I heard a car honk coming from a side street to my right. When I glanced over, I was amused at the scene: a small van honking at a couple of chickens blocking its path. The chickens didn’t seem overly concerned, meandering blithely. The honks were short, almost polite. It was all silly.
There are lots of chickens in our neighborhood, and with traffic sparse they are often crossing the road, frequently in no great rush to get to the other side. While most do seem to know to scoot away from motor vehicles, I’ve witnessed cars honking at chickens before. Yet something about this scene made me laugh.
It stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking about why. It was so fleeting, but so vivid. At first I kinda wished I had a picture of it — and then I realized I really don’t.
I think (and get asked) a lot about things to seek out and look or listen for on a routine walk/ride/journey/commute. One logical answer that I’ve given before is to seek out something you’ve never noticed before.
But another answer is to take note of something that will never happen again, at least not the way you’ve just experienced it. Maybe I’ll see dopey chickens holding up traffic, but I’ll never have that moment again. And that’s worth appreciating.
Take note of singular moments — not just the big,significant ones, but the small, incidental, seemingly everyday ones. Collect them.
DEPT. OF INSPIRING READERS — 1
I am so impressed and inspired by feedback I get from readers engaged in the thoughtful practice of attention, as creative spark or educational tool or as a mode of being in the world. Some very cool stuff comes up in the comments that not everyone sees, and I want to start highlighting examples.
This evening I begin co-leading a group of kids in exploring local parks and forest preserves using our senses. It has been very unusual to plan because we want the kids to guide the discoveries and discussions, and yet we want to be prepared with information and activities. I don't know what will happen, but it will be fun to find out.
Another reader asked for a follow-up, and Sarah later obliged (I’ve trimmed this down a bit):
We had a great time yesterday. … We played the “I notice, I wonder, and It reminds me of” game as we walked around the park. This led to a discussion of the various oak leaves on the ground, why last year’s leaves are still on some trees, why one tree was so curved, and what might grow in the currently dormant prairie. …
Allowing their curiosity to guide our wandering was fun. Oh, and we gave them each a sketchbook, pencil and colored pencils. We're going to take time to write about what we feel the weather is like, and I think we'll try more writing and drawing in future weeks.
She added that there would be six sessions in all — love to hear an update ;) — but this is pretty fun stuff as is! So: Thank you!
DEPT. OF INSPIRING READERS — 2
Separately, I also want to call attention to a comment on that same post from reader Zabby, who shared how, after a recent move, living somewhere new felt like an adventure. Then this:
When I was at uni one of my projects was to make a 'New Home Task Book' for people [who recently moved] that encouraged them to do things like go and look for a cool tree within walking distance from their house.... I need to dig it out and do it myself!
A New Home Task Book sounds like such a cool idea! (Surely to be followed by a Longtime Home Task Book?)
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IN OTHER NEWS
I am really not fluent in TikTok, but here is an earnest video that endorses several “creative” books, including TAoN. Thanks!
This sounds cool: “We are currently seeking field recordings from all over the world that reflect your interpretation of sleep, rest and tranquillity – these restful soundscapes could be drawn from the natural world or man-made sounds, rural or urban.” Details here. Via This Week in Sound.
“The project makes fun of this codified notion: when did the term ‘art practice’ even start?” So asks an artist who claims to be selling his “practice.” I find myself thinking about this stunt more than I figured I would. NYT gift link.
“My Pointless Quest To Double The Number Of Apostles At The Last Supper.” An AI adventure.
And finally, a few years old but relevant again: Actual Reality Goggles:
OKAY THAT’S IT!
As always, I value your feedback (suggestions, critiques, positive reinforcement, constructive insults directed at me, not at anyone else, etc.), as well as your tips or stories or personal noticing rituals, things we need a word for, and of course your icebreakers: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the comments. —> Or just click the heart symbol. That always makes my day.
And thanks for reading …
All this by Rob Walker PO Box 171, 748 Mehle St., Arabi LA 70032. Send me mail!
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