In the northeast we are definitely living more intense “dog days of summer” as we often call the hottest days in July and August. This year, it is pretty much every day!
With the dog days in mind, I thought I’d choose a well that feels easier than some.
Many have to walk long distances to get to water wells and then have to carry back the weight of filled jugs. While the well may provide connection and joyful conversation while drawing up the gift of water, the visit is also one of labor and physical strength. I can imagine there are times when one wishes the trip to the well did not have to be made.
Metaphorical wells do not call us to the physical journey and strength, but I do find in my visits that the wells are not always places of ease, even as they provide nourishment and what I think of as soul hydration. So much of what each well gives up can only be fully received with surrender or facing challenging truths, for example.
I experience a gamut of feelings at each one and always a decision as to how I choose to respond to what I carry with me as I leave.
That is a long way of saying that to honor the “dog days” up here in the northeast, I want to invite us to take it easy and play a bit with observation.
I have never been a sci-fi fan, however, I am a huge fan of Ray Bradbury’s fabulous book on writing – Zen In the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You. (Oh, that would be an interesting well!).
Ray Bradbury’s combined gift of observation and being able to retains observations for years, decades perhaps, is one for which I have deep envy. While another part of his gift was how he wove observations into his stories, it truly is the observing itself that I go back to in my mind over and over again.
An example, if I recall correctly, was the observation of someone’s tattoo that stayed with him. Years later, he wrote a story in which the tattoo came alive. There is something in that that completely fascinates me.
So I invite you to the well of observation and to lean into it lightly, with joy and fun. Perhaps take more than the usual time to play with it and attend to what is in front of you or around you. Noticing is a first step. Staying with the noticing a bit longer allows for deeper observation.
And a hint…observation can happen with all the five senses and also with the sixth that is being written about more and more…the heart.
Dip deeply and perhaps something you observe will turn into a story, sci-fi or not.
Let yourself be refreshed, reinvigorated, touched, or fall over in laughter. Revel in what might astound you right here, right now.
There are hundreds of things waiting for us to observe them every single day when we choose to be attuned to that gift.
P.S. While I am grateful for my phone, 99.9% of the time the observations that capture me are not there.
P.P.S. An evening observation habit settling in is attuning to the sky. So often we rave about the beauty of the sunrise or sunset and I am finding that the cloud formations in grays can be just as magnificent.