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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Paying Attention




Mary Oliver begins her poem "The Summer Day" with 
"Who made the world? 
Who made the swan, and the black bear? 
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean..." 

Notice how her focus changes from broad to narrow? On our boating trip to Princess Louisa (see previous post), I was, at first, a little put out about the smoke that hampered our views of this magnificent place. I could have groused and grouched about it. 


I gave myself a mental shake and decided to focus, as Oliver did, on the specifics. All of these photos were taken within view of the top photo, a wider view of Chatterbox Falls.

How delicate are the white blossoms, less than 1/2 inch long, that bloomed in the grass. I don't know their name, and they don't care about that. 


The curving symmetry of an unfurling fan. I stared at it for some time, and now, when I study the photo, I remember crouching down on the soft moss at the edge of a clearing, listening to the silence.


Green fans and white stars in the woods. Oliver goes on, in her poem to say, 
"I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed..."


I think that paying attention is a form of prayer, in which I acknowledge the Creator's attention to detail and His care in forming these hidden delights. 


The colours were mostly shades of green and brown, but the occasional colourful flower popped like a staccato note in music. 


Tangles of moss dripped from trees in this damp, lush setting.


Isn't this fungus amazing? 
Oliver concludes her poem with these words,
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do 

with your one wild and precious life?"


Her question is one I ask myself from time to time. Am I paying attention? - not only to nature, but to people and to myself. Life is short, but it's an amazing gift. Too short to waste.





31 comments:

  1. I'm glad you paid attention and shared these gorgeous views. This also pleased me in the poem: be idle and blessed. So needed in our busy modern life!

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  2. Lovely, lovely photographs.
    'Life is short, but it's an amazing gift. Too short to waste.' Good words ...

    All the best Jan

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  3. Oh Lorrie, I couldn't agree more. Paying attention to these wondrous details is indeed a form of worship for me as well. You have captured them well, my friend!

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  4. Beautiful shots of the little things that are normally overshadowed by the impressive falls.

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  5. What a beautiful post! And your photography is amazing.

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  6. Mary Oliver is one of my favorite contemporary poets. What do I plan? Prayer , time with my family. giving generously and being open to growth at any age

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  7. "God is in the details." Fantastic macro shots, Lorrie!

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  8. Beautiful photos and observations.

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  9. I've never read this poem before but I've seen the last line quoted all over the interweb...and it seems to usually be assuming that what you should be doing is something in the world's eyes as big and grand with your life and here she speaks of being idle and blessed. I like that line so much more now. Because our very grand lives may not look like much from the outside but oh how He will bless those who notice. This is a beautiful post. And it is specific to what I hinted at in my post today. I may need to find this poem.

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  10. I think that you pay attention very well.

    I'd read the prior post the other day but not sure if I commented or not. Your photos and writing are always evocative and you live in such a beautiful area ;
    I always enjoy exploring it with you :)

    If I didn't comment on the prior post I did get a laugh imagining you scrambling for those shots of the two of you together and barely landing in time / yes you have fun together :)

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  11. Beautiful detail in your photos and the sentiment so important :). B x

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  12. That's a great question, "Am I paying attention". I hope I do more and more of that. Beautiful photos Lorrie.

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  13. Lorrie - your post is an inspiration to us all ... to stop, look around us, truly listen to those speaking to us, to be in the moment. And the pictures are fabulous testimony to the beauty that exists in the quiet and the small. Thank you for exerting your mental discipline to bring your words and your images to us.

    Also, thank you for faithfully visiting my blog - it means a lot to me. To answer your question, I do have more England adventures to share - they will be coming in future posts! Have a great weekend.

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  14. Yes, paying attention is indeed a form of prayer. I once had a pastor use the term "notice what you notice". That has always left a lasting impression on me. Beautiful pictures.

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  15. This is beautiful ... a form of praise to our Creator! Oliver's question is a good one to ask.

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  16. Stimulating thoughts today here at Fabric Paper Thread.

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  17. Such a beautiful post both stimulating and thought provoking. Stunning photos.

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  18. Wow! What wonderful photos!!! So great that you noticed and enjoyed the little details.

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  19. It occurs to me that I have heard part of that poem here and there through the years, but I have not been paying attention to it's full meaning. You have illustrated that so well here today and it is a lesson I won't soon forget. Thank you for that.

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  20. Beautiful photos and great question.

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  21. Thank you for this lovely post.

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  22. This is an important post as its so full of truth. It's about where our focus is and what we look for in life. It reminds me of Lilias Trotter and her gift of paying attention to what lay right before her eyes, then writing about it and illustrating it. It for sure enhances our worship of the Creator.

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  23. I love the gentle focus in your post... thinking about the things right in front of us, and letting go of what may be beyond our reach. Beautiful pictures and thoughts you shared! I enjoyed the poem you shared as well, lovely pictures and thoughts that I will think on .... hugs :)

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  24. Thank you for a beautiful, thought provoking post, and introduction to Mary Oliver's poetry.

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  25. Thank you for the beautiful photos and the reminder to pay attention and participate in my own life.

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  26. Wonderful post! I adore that fern photo. Nicely done, both Mother Nature and you for the capture. Your sentiments are so true. And worth following. :) Kit

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  27. This is simply lovely, Lorrie. It unfolds beautifully between Oliver's lines and your interpreting it in your own life. Lots of lessons in this post but what strikes me the most is that I can picture you becoming as one with a leaf unfolding, kneeling in silence except for the gentle sounds of nature, lost in the beauty of tiny things that God created.



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  28. Lorrie this was such a lovely, thought provoking post. Each and every one of us should ask this question on a daily basis. I know I am guilty for not stopping and paying attention.

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  29. Wonderful post - and glorious photos. I like to see the small details in nature - as well as the broader view. I'm especially enjoying the glorious blue days of this summer - hasn't it been super wonderful? (Now that the smoke has gone)

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  30. Such a beautiful post. I love the photos - Especially the Curled Fern and the Fungi.

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  31. So much beauty in this post!

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