Every year, about this time of year, I remember that I want to plant sunflowers because … well … they are just fabulous aren’t they? They grow so tall, so quickly. They follow the sun across the sky. They brighten up any garden. AND when fully grown, they nod, heavy with seeds. Look at the patterns!
And every year, almost without fail, I forget. I put notes in my diary. I put seeds where I have to virtually trip over them. And still I forget.
So here is a picture of a sunflower, not a petal in sight. Just seeds and where they were once held. This sunflower head was probably about 40 cm across and heavy, heavy with seed. The seeds are furry! You don’t see that from far away.
If you peel that black skin, you can eat the seed as you continue walking. At least that’s what I do.
I love Autumn in Melbourne. The days are mild, the nights are cool. Blue skies are everywhere!
I have several routes for my daily walk and all are familiar. Yet, when I think about it, I notice different things each day. Sometimes there’s more walking and not-noticing, and sometimes there’s more noticing. It’s my thinking time, my not-thinking time as well as an antidote to too many hours sitting with a screen.
Without exception, everytime I remind myself to consciously notice things, there’s something new to see. Even if it is always there.
Today it was a bird bath. Not so unusual you say. Many front yards have birdbaths. I myself have a birdbath in my front yard. Two things generally occupy my birdbath. One: water. Two: birds.
My birdbath has not ever, to my knowledge been occupied by a lobster, a rabbit or shells.
Open your eyes, I remind myself. You never know just what you’ll see!
Yesterday, on my walk, I took a turn down a lane. We have a few lanes remaining in our suburb, although most have been closed/bought/built over. But a few have been maintained and are well used. They also have fruit trees with accessible branches, and the figs are ripening …
I digress. There I was, walking this lane. There are generally two types of sheds/garages visible. The garages are generally newbuilt and have remote control doors. Square, shiny, flash. The sheds are the opposite, dull, usually corrugated iron, often on a lean, with more holes and gaps than a piece of lace. In other words, no one was much fussed about their appearance.
Then there was this one:
It is different. It’s painted. Not yesterday, but it even looks like someone has patched the paint.
It’s still got the weeds, but someone has tried to make it look better. Why? It’s standing straight, it’s got a new chain. Hmm. I wonder what’s inside? It’s impossible to see. If it was something they were trying to hide, why would they paint the iron? It’s not big enough to put a car.
What would you put inside the blue tin shed? Why would you paint it?
It’s very easy to get caught in your own head, particularly as everything changes outside it.
Walking is my way of putting my world into perspective and reminds me that wonder surrounds me. It’s a wonderful writer’s tool also, reminding me to look closely, to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. To find the story in everything.
I’m wary of promising something I can’t deliver, but at least for today I’m offering an insight into on way to capture details. They may one day be part of a poem, or a story, but that doesn’t really matter now. I just want to show the layering that contributes to meaning.
Those details can be interrogated to make a story. Maybe. But not now.
It’s a skill that needs practice. And I’m practicing. Here goes.
On my walk today I saw a man walking dogs.
There were three dogs.
All were labradors. One was golden, one brown, the other black.
One had its own lead. The other two were on a joined-half-way-along lead.
I saw them twice. At the start of my walk, and part way through. The first time, the dogs were ahead of their walker. The second, they were behind.
About now, I got distracted by something else. And that’s okay.
But although three labradors are hardly enough, here is a picture I found. And that’s a whole other story …