Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do you need an excuse to linger?

This morning, as we were driving in to work, we went a bit out of our way to get a better view of a rainbow. It filled the sky and was doubled on the ends. It was one of those days with rain coming in bands with sunshine between. Perfect rainbow weather. We pulled over, then took a couple block detour to get a better view. It was fun to position the rainbow over one of the university buildings or to get a view over an open field. We took pictures (just with the cell phone). We probably won’t even download them (how many pictures of rainbows does one need) but the fact that we had the ability to take a picture gave us the motivation (and an excuse) to stop and notice. A couple of days before that, it was an interesting shadow that made me stop to look at and take a picture.

Sometimes you need an excuse to stop and or to linger. If you’re sitting on the bank of a stream with a fishing pole in your hand, you have an excuse to linger. You could just sit on the bank, gazing empty handed, but the fishing pole provide a typical excuse.

A sketch pad, camera or writing tablet work, too. A paper tablet is more picturesque but, for me, far less effective than the electronic kind. In fact, the process of capturing things one sees helps develop the habit of seeing. You might not need an excuse. You might notice and linger without having to produce an artifact. But I notice more if I’m in the habit of writing about it. Either way, noticing and lingering help you know your place and knowing your place helps you notice and linger.
The rainbow anecdote started as a comment on reasonsruralrocks.blogspot.com, part of a project completed by an intern with the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities. If you want to get in the conversation tweet #ReasonsRuralRocks to @sherbani or go to reasonsruralrocks.blogspot.com.

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