So often, there is such beauty all around, but we fail to notice because we're hurrying or tired or looking at our phones or thinking about who we are, who we're not, what we should or need to be doing, where we should or shouldn't be. I'm a pretty observant gal, but I fall prey to the busy-need-tos all the time.
One of my favorite things about going on vacation is the immediate shedding of the superfluous crap we carry with us every day back home. In Rome, I really don't care about whether or not the recycling team will mind if I put five OR six boxes out on Thursday. I don't care that my guest rooms lacks lamps, that my pictures aren't all hung, or that multiple boxes of who knows what wait downstairs to be unpacked. It's as if Donald Trump has never taken to a mic.
On vacation, when I can disengage enough from the noise and wants and needs of the kids, I can simply look and notice and ingest. It's the way I always feel in the garden, or if I have a few truly free hours by my lonesome.
I can notice and also stop and photograph, beautiful doorways, facades, sculptures and real people too. Regular folks resplendent in their gentle every day'ness. A daughter caring for her mother, an elderly couple strolling arm-in arm. A restaurant worker outside on break to finish an obviously important, or seemingly so?, conversation. A sweet Palm Sunday observer who appears lost. Or is he overwhelmed by season or holiday or grief?
I see a Palm Sunday processional, I hear live music playing outside my window. I overhear a fierce quarrel, I taste the depths of tiramisu know-how.
In the same way that understanding fosters empathy and connection, so too does observation. Watching people, becoming familiar with one's surroundings, knowing the natural rhythms of any given place and a sense of its citizens. Noticing that which is beautiful, that which is special, that which is both simply by being.
In every new experience, minute or grand, I can grow, if I pay attention and am open to such evolution. What a gift each is, and I am all the better for them.