Boredom is a Sin

At least, that’s what my Dad used to tell us.

He was quick to clarify, Not a religious sin, but one against Mother nature.

He wouldn’t punish us for this, of course, but he sure frightened Mary Lou, from down the block the first time she witnessed this exchange.

“Daddy, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” (sentence whined in dramatic, 7 year old voice…)

Calmly responding, Dad would simply say, “That’s it. Go get the Ruler.”

Mary Lou had a much different experience of her father sending her for the ruler, or a small tree branch, or the Ping Pong Paddle.

We knew this routine, and I suppose, could have proceeded on our own, but Dad worked so much, on a day off, we’d do anything for a verbal exchange with him. Besides the whole experience seemed better if Daddy had sent us on the challenge.

We’d get the Ruler, and our task then was to find a flat surface of some kind, so we could measure out one square foot of visual space to explore…at length…until we found something of interest, sometimes even something amazing. 

These measured “windows” kept us not-bored for many Sunday afternoons, or summertime hours.

There is way more to this story but I’m thinking of it today because of how much gratitude I feel for my father’s creative way of teaching us about important life lessons. This one for me, has expanded over the years to cover all manner of scenes and circumstances. It is like my Mindful Practice now…finding a “window” of music, or taste, or rest, or movement, etc.

It’s no longer a tool to counteract boredom. I have walked through my long life now, with this theme running at all times in the background.

I truly can’t remember the last time I felt bored. There is always something new to see, to discover, to learn, to experience, with all my senses. And there is always more than one way look at things…the same old everyday sights…and even the painful things.

I can’t tell you how much this has helped me through 693 days of mostly seclusion during the Pandemic.

We are having a HUGE wave of new Covid cases in my area, up 700% in the last month. Not boring, but frightening and quite depressing, so I sent myself to “get the Ruler” this morning before my daily walk.

Here’s what I spotted in about a 3 square foot area right outside my door that I never look at in the dead of winter it’s so scruffy. But today, I slowly zoomed in, and found beauty of the season.

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This strange “rock” has been in many places all around my property. I hadn’t thought about it in years!

On my way back home from today’s walk, way down my hill, I spotted a tiny window, a visual “square foot” framed by the trees.

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As I made my way, I watched that “square foot” transform right before my eyes.

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The closer I got to my driveway, the more the view opened up, showing me the miracle of the Olympic Mountains, looking close enough to visit. They are 158 miles away.

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And there was the Columbia Tower, 11 miles away.

From my perspective, it looked easily as tall as those gorgeous, finally snow-covered peaks.

Thanks Dad!

Checking in

 

Well, that may be the longest stretch of NOT posting on my blog since I started it way back when…well, I don’t actually remember when my first post happened.

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But I have not posted for a whole month. And even then, and during the weeks before that, it was mostly the easiest post possible. (Thanks to whoever first coined the term WordlessWednesday!)

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I do think about it all the time though. In my mind, I create what I think are clever photography slide shows, or I write interesting or inspiring essays. But real life, the one outside my internal process, has been loudly in charge for a while. (Oh, the pitiful list of excuses I could insert here…sigh…and the thing is, my life-interruptions are similar to every person’s on the planet this last 16 months so no special sympathy for me…)

I’ve barely had the time or energy to read my favorite bloggers either.

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Self-centeredly, I do continue to check my notifications occasionally and am always pleasantly surprised to see a new follower. And a “like” on some older post can make my day!

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I always intended to welcome each new follower (I still hate that word “follower”. I’m not leading anyone anywhere! OK, each new “reader”) And I even saved each new name, but somehow those numbers climbed to 628 behind my back!!!

Realistically, I know that number does not mean that there are actually 628 people out there is the world who, with great anticipation, look forward to checking each day to see what I posted….only to be disappointed. Most likely the number is closer to 3 or 4 who look occasionally, just to see if I still happen to be alive.

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In hasty conclusion, because one of those life-interruptions is happening as I type, I long to be back at this more regularly.

Any encouragement greatly appreciated.

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And here’s a slide show with left over photos:

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Perspective-photo Challenge 7/25/2020 a fun story in pictures

I’ve written a lot of posts that contained embarrassing self-disclosures, but this one is a stretch, even for me.

First of all, I’m not clear who to credit for this challenge, but since perspective is one of my driving, life-force words, I’ve decided to just write and share photos anyway.

Here’s the story.

I have been photographing a tiny piece of mystery debris on my street for over a year. No idea why. Can’t really justify it except I spotted it, and became intrigued, and over the months, it evolved into a mild obsession.

I have thought at length about why in the world I would become so interested in this scrap of trash, and the only thing I can come up with is my Dad. It’s his fault really. He taught us very early on that boredom was a sin against Nature, and that if we used all of our senses, and just changed our perspectives, we could always find at least one miracle.

“Just look at the ground”, he would say. “It’s covered with magic!”

(I wrote about this in a story, with working title  The “Ruler” and the Torn Screen or One Square foot and posted it on on V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #40 “Things my Father said”)

https://wordpress.com/post/chosenperspectives.com/18412

I guess what grew from that particular Dad-Lesson was a life long habit of looking down at the ground, always in search of treasures! No surprise one of my favorite activities in life is Beach Combing. I have huge collections of rocks, shells and beach glass! I have even been known to collect tiny treasures right off the street, especially if it’s been too long since I’ve had a trip to the ocean.

I’m fairly easy to please.

I have photographed what I am walking on many times…

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Even modern day litter…

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So spotting this one piece of junk on my daily walk was not the surprise. It simply stood out. Unidentifiable, it caught my eye.

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The surprise was that I started looking for it every day. Every single day. I became more and more curious about why it never, ever moved. Its location was on a high-traffic part of the street. With all the cars, bikes and people passing over that very spot every day, it should have been run over…repeatedly.

So I decided to actually start tracking it…on purpose…and taking its picture…

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Uh oh, I had bonded with a fragment of litter.

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Seriously, and now, over a year later, and I’m even writing a Post about it.

But wait , as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s “the rest of the story”

Last week on my regular morning walk, I got to the top of my street, where my Scrap lives…and it was gone! GONE!

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I figured a car tire had finally knocked it off to the side, but after a long, elaborate roadside search (yes, a search) for my missing piece of rubbish, I had to accept it was over. My mystery remnant was truly missing.

 

In a world of uncertainty, a tiny, but predictable piece of my daily life, was gone. Sigh.

Believe me, the symbolism and the underlying explanations for this attachment are not lost on me. Been thinking about it all week. The pandemic. Being locked in my home, except for this daily walk, for 142 days. Reminders of my Dad, and wondering how he would have looked at today’s confusing, emotional, frightening new normal, ETC.!

I tried to find a replacement touchstone, something more permanent, and spotted this whale (or maybe it’s a country in Europe)…

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But when looking through photos for this post I discovered this formation, permanently embedded in the street, had been there all along.

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Anyway, this morning….I’m on my walk, approaching the former location of, you know who, (my reliable and familiar bit of trash), I decide maybe one more look around…

And there, well off the pavement, directly in a beam of early morning sunlight, I see this!

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I was disproportionately happy!!

And YES, of COURSE I brought it home with me, and put it in the cabinet with all the other treasures! It’s just not safe out there for such a vulnerable little guy.

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Yep, I’m glad I’m so easily entertained. Thanks Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘A good photograph is knowing where to stand’

Something Beautiful! 3/22/2020

Though the road in front of my house is desolate…

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…at the top of the hill is one of the busiest streets in my town…and there is NO traffic…great time for a drive!

 

 

The Primroses I added this year are flourishing….

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And I even have one, HUGE beautiful bug left. She just keeps hanging on!

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So many lovely thoughts, actions, creative sharings, inspirations from beloved friends and even the media….

Everyone Hang Tight. Learn all you can.

And Love each other Loudly!!

 

Here’s a beautiful poem shared by a dear friend…

 

Pandemic by Lynn Ungar

 

What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

 

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

 

Promise this world your love–

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

Chosen Perspectives on TIME for WPC

Generations

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top-my mother, middle-my biological daughter, bottom-me

Time

And the back story is…

I didn’t see a picture of my daughter until after the longest stretch of time in my life…23 years after I gave her up for adoption. The reunion specialist I hired found her high school annual in a library.

I thought she was beautiful but could not see a trace of myself in her. So I didn’t really believe she was mine.

Then I remembered this photo of my mother when she was in the Navy at 21 years old. When I laid the photos side by side, I saw it!

The photo at the bottom is from my high school annual.