Reader, Walking

Reader, Walking: Familiarity

Sinch March 2020, we’ve walked nearly daily through our neighborhood path. Less in 2023, but still relatively often. That’s 2020, 2021, 2022, and now 2023 – so four years worth of walking in the path.

When I say path, I really mean it. On the north edge, there’s a creek ravine and a row of back yards fall down to it, then a “hill” with a path along the top and a little bit more “woods” before the back yards of the other houses. Honestly, it’s a great place for the neighbor kids to play; one summer they swept the leaf litter and made “offices.” So fun.

But as woods go, it’s not that big.

Yet, it is shockingly full of flora and we have even seen deer from time to time. In the spring we know where to look for bloodroots and cutleaf toothwort and rue anemone. We know what the May Apples look like as they’re poking out of the ground like little umbrellas. There are jacks-in-pulpits and false Solomon’s Seal. We watch the greening happen from the ground up.

Today, after 4 years of nearly daily walks through this little bit of nature, I saw a fun favorite that I’ve never seen in “our woods” in 4 years (not to mention that we’ve lived here nearly 19 years … what was I doing with my children?!)

I found ghost pipe:

It’s not the best picture; it’s zoomed because it’s nearly 7′ off the path. And we never noticed it before.

I had to ask myself 1) is that new (unlikely) 2) did I forget it (also unlikely, ghost pipe is very cool – a plant with not chlorophyll and pretty memorable) 3) was I just not paying attention?

How many times have we reread a favorite book and said “I never noticed that before.” ? I know it happens to me often when re-reading.

Sometimes, it’s the timing of the thing. Sometimes, its just casting your eyes in a specific point at a specific time and you’re struck with lightning. It’s not like I was looking for ghost pipe today – although I was on Saturday and did find some on a hike. It was just there minding its own business.

I have had that experience in my Bible reading, where the whole passage is turned on its head when you read all of the words or think about just what is the Kingdom of God and how is it like a pearl or a treasure?

Our lack of noticing isn’t a fault, but a cause for rejoicing when we do see. When we do find.


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