I’m a noticer. I notice things. I suppose this isn’t all that unusual, lots of people “notice things” of course, this is kind of how humans work. But if you and I work together and one day you come into the library with new earrings or a different bracelet, say, there is a good chance I will notice before anyone else does. The same goes for haircuts, a new coat, that book you’re reading because you were reading a different book yesterday weren’t you? I guess if you’re trying to blend into the crowd or not draw too much attention to yourself, it might seem as though I am the wrong friend to have, but it’s ok! Because guess what? If I sense you are at all sensitive about your new haircut or you’re not sure if those earrings were a good choice with that dress, I will also notice that about you and then at some point, when no one else is around, I will tell you your haircut looks nice or those earrings are perfect with that dress. So overall I am a pretty ok friend to have, if I may say so.
And I bring up haircuts because I’ve often had several inches taken off my hair or had it dyed a completely different colour and NO ONE AT WORK HAS NOTICED. And I mean who wants to be that guy, the one who is all “Look at my new haircut!” right? So because I tend to see those small details and notice slight changes, I am often annoyed with the people who don’t. But then I remember that not everyone has made what seems to be a career out of being hyper-observant, so I do cut people some slack. Sometimes my husband will say “You are the only person in the world who would notice that” and I just nod sagely like the wise old crone that I am. It’s a blessing and a curse, as they say.
If you have kids you’ll know that once they start to be aware of their own surroundings they like to point out the things that they notice. Worms spring to mind, it’s that time of year after all, and if you haven’t spent 3o minutes or more just watchin’ worms, well you don’t know what you’re missing. There is a lot to take in, worm watching. But it’s not just wildlife, (are worms considered wildlife) kids like to point at everything and it’s up to you, their parent, to name everything they point at. Even if (when!) you’ve named it a million times before if your toddler points at a door you say “Door!” Or “Window!” “Doggie!” “Chair!” “Daddy!” etc. Ad nauseum. Trust me.
And I remember every so often one of the boys would point to something at the park or in the backyard and I would name it for them and then think to myself “Wow I have never noticed that before.”And I call myself a noticer! So it’s true that once you have kids you do tend to take better note of things around you, partly because a lot of things can kill or maim your child so you have to be on high alert but also because they are experiencing these little things for the first time but for them, they are actually the big things! And it is fun to see the same old same old in a fresh new light and to see the little things that you might not have noticed before. Like if your small child hands you a Cheerio that they pulled from the rug, you may notice it’s probably time to vacuum. Kids are so helpful that way.
And so I did start to notice even more things once my kids were walking around and usually they were things at their eye level, of course, and this really gives you a different perspective on the world which is very refreshing, but I think I really became more of an expert noticer once we got a dog.
We have a dog, she came to our family nearly four years ago and I’m honestly shocked that this is my very first post about our dog, this seems extremely off-brand for me, but anyway. She’s a very active dog, she has at least three long walks a day and for the first little while, it was mostly me walking her, with John or one of the boys taking over occasionally. This was mostly because I wasn’t working at the time, both boys had school, and John was at work (not at home, working, strange as it may seem in our current world!) so Mya and I had a lot of time together. And the great thing about walking a dog as opposed to walking with small children is that you actually get to look up and all around you because the dog, unlike the child, probably, is leashed and can’t get away, so you can truly take in your surroundings. And yes, it’s true, you can also do this while NOT walking a dog, just, you know, walking by yourself, but because dogs do a lot of stopping and starting sniffing and peeing, it gives you that time to look around and take note, and sometimes you see brand new things. Like the time I saw a tree FULL of robins. Not just a robin, that famous red-breasted harbinger of spring, but dozens, probably close to a hundred or more and it freaked me out. When we got home I Googled “huge flocks of robins meaning” (which is a terrible search string for a library professional to use but I was nervous, ok?) I had never seen so many robins at once and I was convinced there was something very wrong. The first few hits pulled up robin facts and areas they live, migration patterns, etc. but finally one site’s information went something like “As with most birds, robins travel in large flocks, only pairing off just before mating season, dumbass.” I added the dumbass part myself, but it might as well have been there. Birds are birds, and of course they exist in flocks, but for so many years I thought that robins were the loners of the bird kingdom! You see? Had I not had that experience of noticing the tree full of birds I would have spent the rest of my days assuming that robins were anti-social creatures. How unfair of me.
There is an awful lot to take in for everyone right now, but I hope that at least once this week, no matter how you observe the world around you, you get to notice something brand new or something wonderful or even something that has always existed, perhaps hiding in plain sight then finally, triumphantly, revealing itself to you. And I also hope it’s exactly what you need.