Seuss and Doty

Sometimes I can be dense.  Sometimes the universe needs to scream at me to get me to hear something.

I wrote a while ago about the Annie Dillard line that I believe says it all: What you see is what you get.

And I practice that, at least most of the time.  Last night, walking with Grace and Whit in the very-early-spring evening, Grace stopped short in front of a dense bush that was still mostly sticks and twigs, no leaves.  She looked, hushed, into it.  I stood next to her and followed her gaze.  She whispered, “Look!” and all three of us witnessed a flock of small, dun-colored sparrows deep inside the bush.  I have no idea how she noticed them, but I’m glad she did.

I guess I had flagged in my paying attention, though, because I was forcefully reminded of the need to do so this week.

This weekend I read Mark Doty’s beautiful short meditation on creativity, art, and life, Still Life With Oysters and Lemon.  The book itself is an exercise in looking closely, an exaltation of the wonders that can result.  It evinces, simply, “A faith that if we look and look we will be surprised and we will be rewarded.”

And then last night I read Whit the book that Grace took out of the library for him (one of her new and more endearing habits).  It is a Dr Seuss book that’s new to both of us, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.  And Seuss’s voice joins with Doty’s, in a different kind of poetry, “If you keep your eyes open, oh the stuff you will learn!  The most wonderful stuff!  …you’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

Okay, universe.  I’m paying attention.  Eyes wide open here.  What I see is what I get.

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  1. Posted April 4, 2011 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    My “To Be Read” list will continue to grow…

  2. Posted April 4, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I’m with the commenter above–whenever I come here I end up adding to my reading list! But it’s a good thing.

  3. Penelope
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    You use a lot of quotes from writers, most of them I also love and have studied in my career (I also majored in English here in Madrid). But I’d like you to notice that your blog is full of quotes of your very own. Quotes that one day someone will use in their own blogs. You are a writer already, it doesn’t matter if you have published a book, or none. You are a writer, and I must say, you are one of my favorites.

  4. Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I am excited to add Mark Doty to my reading list. And who can deny the wisdom of Dr.Seuss?

  5. Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Glad your eyes are open, but sure that your heart has been for some time…

    Mark Doty book on the way, thanks!


  6. Posted April 5, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I come here wanting to leave words that say something – anything – to indicate how much I adore and value you. More often than not, I delete what I’ve written and walk away. I don’t have much to say tonight either. Just that you are a gift Lindsey, a brightly shining light. Please don’t ever doubt that.

  7. Posted April 5, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Lindsey, You might like to meditate on Penelope’s comment, and on the mythical, shroud-making and unmaking resonances of that name itself… as a girl cast into the sea and fed by sea-birds, symbol of fidelity and yet also of whispered rumors, possible consort of Hermes and mother of Pan…

    Birds, bushes (think Moses, but here alive with spirit/birds… symbol of what eats the crumbs in “Hansel & Gretel” thus adding to the lostness, and ultimate foundness, of those two children), writing, weaving, being understood, understanding…

    So much to “read,” when properly primed by children, birds or Theodore Geisel… so much to inspire us all to sing our own songs, ever climbing the staircase of our DNA.