See and Tell

Pay attention         Be astonished        Tell about it       ~Mary Oliver

Small children often have a practice at school called show and tell.  That seems to be kin to Mary Oliver’s words.  First you have to notice, to really see before you can choose something to show or have its description to tell about.  I grow a great many herbs in my garden.  Each has unique characteristics of growth and appearance and fragrance. Part of the joy of tending this garden is in seeing and knowing the differences.

This Cuban Oregano is one of my favorites for its beauty – softly variegated colors on aromatic velvet leaves that I love to touch. I like the way it leans into our weathered wood fence as if to press its restoring oil into the splintered plank.  When I water the plants around it, I look for it, I pay it attention.  I am rewarded with fresh amazement at the loveliness of growing things, surviving the heat of summer and thriving.

“Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization.  Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won’t see it.  It is, as Ruskin says, ‘not merely unnoticed, but in the full, clear sense of the word, unseen.’  I have to say the words, describe what I’m seeing…But if I want to notice the lesser cataclysms of valley life, I have to maintain in my head a running description of the present.”   ~ Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

2 thoughts on “See and Tell

  1. I love the quote by Anne Dillard. Even while eating a meal, I think it is important to really notice what we’re tasting, and to really hear the conversations taking place. This has been on my mind recently. I am familiar with Cuban Oregano – it grabs your senses!
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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