It’s Dangerous to Notice
The thing about paying attention is… you notice stuff.
So, when you look up and see this:
then you stop
if you can get a photo
as beautiful as this tree.
You draw near and realize you have to trespass
on their front lawn to position yourself
in just such a way that the light shines
through the leaves and makes them
Then you share this beauty with your Facebook friends,
invoking the words of an author you know.
“What’s left but to open ourselves to the beauty that persists and allow ourselves to see and be stunned.” ~ Jan Richardson
And you smile to yourself when your photo is liked and you are liked.
But you don’t like yourself…
because the beauty you revel in makes you think of un-beauty
you passed this morning on the way to church.
In fact, every Sunday on the way to church
for many weeks, maybe several months.
So you arm yourself with leaf bags and trash bags,
and a sturdy recycling box.
You pull on jeans and thick-soled shoes
and you hike into the woods,
down to the river bed
Turns out, it’s not just a bag’s worth.
It’s not just a few bags, a few bottles, a few cans, or a few discards.
It’s plastic tangled on bushes,
cans, ripe with old beer,
bottles piled on bottles,
shards of glass, twist off tops,
chips crushed in crinkled bags,
spilling out of carton, bag, box.
More than I bargained for.
Who? Why? For how long?
“Thanks for doing that, Ma’am,” a man calls,
as he walks past with his big yellow Labrador.
One by one,
you lift the leavings,
spill the contents,
crumple the bags, compress the cartons,
and gather the refuse.
Back to green.
Back to bushes.
Back to leaves.
Back to stream.
I can’t post picks of lovely but do nothing about the ugly.