Noticing…


Bare branches. Cold winds. And a resilient Christmas cactus.

As I prepare to spend Christmas alone – not unusual for me — I’m noticing things more. That’s the thing about being “on the outside, looking in.” (Which is how I often feel, especially at holidays, and I know I’m not alone there.) You notice things more. This is a good thing.

Simply noticing things, especially disturbing or uncomfortable things, reduces their emotional power. Noticing is a simple way to be “in the present.” To get beyond Christmas presents to Christmas presence, you might say.

My friend’s Christmas cactus, for example. Thinking it was dead–actually, thinking she killed it–she was about to throw it away and noticed a bud emerging. Then another. She was so excited, she called to tell me about it and share the magic. This is a friend who lives alone in low-income housing and budgets every dollar, yet finds magic in this example of resilience. She also is resilient, because of that power to notice. “Presence” vs “presents.” It’s that simple, sometimes.

I notice that it took me almost a week to finish this post, because it just didn’t come…so I waited, till now. I notice that I couldn’t decide whether to drive 1,000 miles to be with the man I love…so I waited, and am staying put for now. I notice that it’s harder to pull myself outdoors in this chill Atlantic winter without the benefit of snow…so I wait until I’m ready, which doesn’t take long because, well, that’s the power of noticing. .;) I notice that this bad cold is hanging on and needs some TLC. That I’m frustrated with a malignant technical problem I can’t seem to solve. And so on. Each time I notice, I feel less hijacked. More “present.”

Simple, I know. But it works.

Bare branches and cold winds are worth noticing, too. See the rewards in photos below.

If you are one of those who feels lonely at the holidays, know you aren’t alone…and just notice that. Then, get out there anyway. Or call a friend. When you’re ready.

My friend’s Christmas cactus was headed for the trash, but let her know that it wasn’t done living yet! It reminds me of my Mom, who turns 101 on Christmas Day. Years ago, she said she felt ready to die. And yet, she is strong and very much “present” today. A plant–or human–knows when it’s done and when it’s not. (Loving attention often has something to do with “when.”)
The wind was howling but I took myself out to the waterfront anyway….and, this.
Others were also enjoying the sunset on the Potomac River near Mount Vernon.
If you wait long enough, and look in all directions, sunsets can give such a variety of gifts–like the pink cloud on the left, visible for only a minute or so. (But one does have to notice. It helps to set that intention.)
We love the glory of fall colors, but bare branches have their own allure, especially on the water.
A sunset with clouds is always more interesting than one without. Have you noticed that?
No words needed….

5 thoughts on “Noticing…

  1. Many years ago I had coondogs. When it got really cold they refused to go inside. They were more comfortable snuggling up on a bale of hay out in the open. One Christmas eve , the temperature was 0 degrees with no wind ,snow on the ground and a full moon, i walked out the door and they became excited thinking we were going hunting so I loaded them up and off we went. I turned them loose on the upper Hackberry creek. It was so quiet. They hunted for maybe a half an hour not finding any tracks to follow they came back to the pickup. That evening was so special. The moon and snow lit up everything. What was really special was that there was a little humidity and ice crystals were raining from the sky. The whole sky was sparkling and with the snow covered landscape I felt that I was in one of those snowglobes . So beautiful! When we returned home , I offered the dogs the warmth and comfort inside the house but no, they preferred a hay bale out in the yard…Ive heard somewhere that on Christmas eve animals can talk. I think that I heard them say Merry Christmas everyone…..🦝🦊🦌

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  2. After a blizzardy Christmas, we’re awaiting the arrival of a few Clows. Aarne, Paulette, Jonathon and Elizabeth arrive tomorrow. Plenty of snow for them to enjoy!!! Jeff stopped by today for a quick visit. Really looking forward to your arrival in late January.

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