See the world!

I have a new resolution: See the world.

It’s not what you think. I’m not planning to reallocate my resources so I can go explore ruins or exotic islands and rain forests and teeming cities.

No: I aim to see the world.

I resolve to look around me and see not just the sleeping dogs and dust bunnies but the way the sun brightens and nourishes everything it touches — and the rain, too, in its turn. I plan to be aware of how the air fills my lungs differently when I consciously take in a breath as opposed to leaving the automatic pilot in control.

I plan to notice the echinacea and the compass plants that have bloomed in recent days, and I intend to watch the bees and the beetles visit the new flowers to do their thing. I plan to watch the pelicans fly high overhead and contemplate what they see from their vantage point.

When I resolve to see the world, I expect to see things that sadden as much as delight me, but I expect most of all to see things that fascinate me, for the world is nothing if not fascinating. See how much there is to see! Perhaps that’s why our eyes glaze over and we forget to look: There is just so much, and when we try to see it all, our senses overload. But how much we miss when we pass over and shut it down! 

I’m not talking about the sensory overload from doom-scrolling and media shouting and artificial intelligence and algorithms — no, I’m talking about what I see when I lift my eyes from the screen to the hills, to the sky, and to the wonders right next to me, just beyond my reach, whether it’s a rabbit frozen in my back yard hoping I don’t see or it’s a weed growing between the cracks in an ancient sidewalk.

See the world! I’m not talking about taking a journey through soul-sapping airports for hours and days to see what there is to see far, far away, although you’re certainly welcome to do so. I’m talking about seeing the world where you’re planted, being aware of the wonder and the beauty and, yes, the appalling and the ugly, the right here and the right now.

We grow accustomed to our surroundings, to our world, to our quotidian, so much so that we stop seeing it, and in doing so we rob ourselves of life itself. We are meant to see the world — every part of it, every second — and to drink it in, and savor it, and change what we can and accept what we can’t, but to see it all.

Look! Taste and see! Isn’t it fascinating?

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