Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Profound Lesson of Reception

There are fantastic excerpts from the book I'm reading - one of which struck clear and true for me today:

"Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the god-awful difficulty of just paying attention.  It's a contention of Heat Moon's - believing as he does any traveler who misses the journey misses about all he's going to get - that a man becomes his attentions.  His observations and curiosity, they make and remake him

Etymology:  'curious', related to cure, once meant "carefully observant." Maybe a tonic of curiosity would counter my numbing sense that life inevitably creeps toward the absurd.  'Absurd,' by the way, derives from a Latin word meaning "deaf, dulled."  Maybe the road could provide a therapy through observation of the ordinary and obvious, a means whereby the outer eye opens an inner one.  STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, the old railroad crossing signs warned.  Whitman calls it "the profound lesson of reception."

New ways of seeing can disclose new things:  the radio telescope revealed quasars and pulsars, and the scanning electron microscope showed the whiskers of the dust mite.  But turn the question around:  Do new things make for new ways of seeing?"

I greatly welcome and anticipate my own 'Blue Highway' experience next year... and hope to discover as much (if not more) about myself, life, and the open road.

More passages coming, I'm certain of it.

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon: