“Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing...
He says everything is alive--
Shells, buildings, people, fish
Mountains, trees. Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you...
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you...
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.”
Roger Keyes (“Hokusai Says”)
Last night I was invited out to Mother's Day dinner by my friend, Andy. The restaurant sits at one end of an enormous parking lot, just above Shades Creek, a broad stream that empties into Birmingham's major waterway, the Cahaba River. Shades Creek runs for miles along busy highways, beneath a major expressway, and beside the sprawling mall complex where the restaurant is. Your would think it would be polluted beyond redemption, but it is teaming with life. It's where the Boy Scouts go to hunt for snakes, frogs, and lizards for their reptile merit badges. Andy and I were seated beside a large plate glass window looking out on Shades Creek. When I gazed out at the view, there sat a large owl on an electrical line, surveying the creek for his dinner. He sat patiently, his head swiveling from one side to the other, completely unperturbed by the traffic all around him. I confess that I had a hard time engaging in conversation with Andy, because all I wanted to do was watch the owl. After about ten minutes, he dove behind the banks of the creek and I couldn't see him any more. I'm not sure why it thrills me so much to see wild life living in the city, but it does.
It is important to notice the life all around us—the wild things, the ordinary things, even the grass beneath our feet. Being aware of life outside ourselves strengthens our connection to it, as well as expanding our consciousness of the life within us. The same spirit that animates the owl, the lizards, the rippling water, and all things, flows through us and establishes our place in the family of life. It is good to pay attention.
In the Spirit,