Sunday, April 26, 2009

Practice Looking Up

Things are winding down here in Sevilla. Classes have ended at the TTU Center. Many of the people in the program have already gone a journeying, or gone home. I’ve made plans for both as well: three nights in Venice, then back to Sevilla, a train to Madrid, and finally my flight to Texas. Sad thing is that my mind and heart have already returned to the American west. I left Spain days ago.

Walking through the Jardin de Murillo the other day, this thought went over in my mind: how do I refocus on the here and now? How do I keep from longing too much for where I’m headed and miss where I am?

I thought: practice looking up!

When I was a wee lad, my mother thought there was something desperately wrong with me. Apparently I sometimes walked into walls. I’d be going about the house and suddenly a wall would appear in my path before I could get out of its way. Wham! I would redirect my course (water around rock), and go on, a little bruise marking the point of impact. Is he an idiot, my mother wondered? Partially blind? Deep in thought? Is he mad?

I think, for whatever reason, I tend to walk along looking at the ground. I find a lot of arrow points this way and other cool stuff too, but sometimes I get lost. Hmm, I don't remember passing this building, or was this river here yesterday? You get my point. It takes some effort to remind myself to look up. When I do, I find new cool stuff. Birds overhead. People approaching me (Hello!). A whole world, for god’s sake, unfolding in front of me.

So in the Jardin de Murillo I thought: practice looking up! I looked up into the towering gardens, and there, a bat house made from the bark of a cork tree. That doesn’t sound like something to jump up and down about, but it reminded me that just when I think I’ve seen everything, something surprising is about to happen.

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