lessons on being still


I like serendipity. The word is perfectly bouncy and it feels magical. I’ve been learning to be still. It’s been a long process with many lessons. I’m not a big fan of being still, but I’ve learned it is necessary.

Recently, I’ve been looking through the book, The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker. Last weekend I decided to go for a color walk, inspired by the book. The challenge is to go for a walk and notice color. I thought I knew the answers before I went: green and dead brown.

At the start of my walk, I noticed sea foam green on the top of a garbage can. I remembered that I used to love sea foam green when I was a little girl. I won’t see much more of that, I thought, since it’s not a color found in nature.

I looked up and was startled to see the color again on the bridge (right photo). It made me smile, but I knew I wouldn’t find it organically. Suddenly, sea foam green began appearing before my eyes. It was in the bark of the cotton wood tree and the color of moss that was growing alongside the creek. It was in the new sprouts alongside of the road and sprinkled in the forest floor, among the dead leaves.

Even though I thought I knew all of the answers before I went for a color walk, I quickly found there were many things I didn’t know. My mind wondered, but it kept snapping back to color each time I spotted sea foam green.

It’s been like that, learning to be still. I thought I knew all of the answers ahead of time, the way of being still. I thought I knew knew knew how to be still. I thought I was good at it, being still. I thought I was good at noticing, but now there’s sea foam green taunting me that I don’t know all I think I know.

It’s been many years since I’ve been an active part of the blogging community.  I have very special friends who notice things in the world. As I was noticing sea foam green, I was thinking about them. One of them keeps this as the epigraph of her blog —

The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.” (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.) These are my small things that count.

In a way of serendipity, I’m out on a walk and realizing that the lessons for being still have been growing roots for many years, but are just starting to resonate. I’m just starting to know some things about being still. I’m figuring out more the more I walk and notice things like sea foam green and think about friends who notice small things and noticed me…even when I didn’t know all that I thought I knew.

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  1. Wishing you more discoveries, Ruth. I’m grateful for your writing always, not so small after all! Hugs to everyone!

  2. I’ve always loved the small things–the small joys. During this epidemiologic time, it is what we need to search for every day. Making our own perks. Thanks, Ruth, for the reminder.

    • Yes, yes. Clay fragments, right? I think you should dust off your blog, too. I need your stories.