To Notice Each Thing

photo by Joel DeWaarda Mt. Baker photo by Joel DeWaard




The Old Testament book of Micah answers the question of why we are here with another:
“What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?”
We are here to abet creation and to witness it,
to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed.
Together we notice not only each mountain shadow
and each stone on the beach
but we notice each other’s beautiful face
and complex nature
so that creation need not play to an empty house.
~Annie Dillard from Life Magazine’s “The Meaning of Life”


I started out a noticer,
at seven tracing ant trails from their hills
branching out to various trees,
watching nests bloom with birds,
sitting as still as the lizard sunning himself on a rock.

Then something called adulthood happened,
and responsibilities and worries and cares,
and I stopped noticing any more.

Creation played to an empty house
and the empty house was me.

I’m back to noticing
smiling and nodding
hooting and hollering.
It’s a great show
and I’m both actor
and audience.






A Calling


Something is calling to me
from the corners of fields,
where the leftover fence wire
suns its loose coils, and stones
thrown out of the furrow
sleep in warm litters;
where the gray faces
of old No Hunting signs
mutter into the wind,
and dry horse tanks
spout fountains of sunflowers;
where a moth
flutters in from the pasture,
harried by sparrows,
and alights on a post,
so sure of its life
that it peacefully opens its wings.
~Ted Kooser “In the Corners of Fields”