Romancing The Ordinary

It’s an interesting thing being a father to a two year old. Interesting for many reasons, but one of the primary ones being the amount that the two year old teaches you.

A few days ago after a downpour of rain we were walking around outside. She exclaimed at having seen something interesting, and proceeded to run over to look at a snail making its way across the outside tiles. She crouched over it for ages, eagerly observing its every slow, tedious move.

I lost interest a lot quicker, and moved away, but it made me think. How amazing it must be to live in a world full of wonder. Where interesting phenomena and creatures are there to be observed every day. And yet I quickly realized that that same world was the one that I inhabit.

As we grow out of childhood something inside of us dies – that excited way in which we see the world as a thing of wonder. We stop taking it all in. We stop observing.

There’s a Charles Bukowski poem called “Something for the Touts, the Nuns, the Grocery Clerk and You”, where he rails against all the types of people he despises in the world. A fairly common theme for Bukowski. One particular line has always stayed with me: “Men who stand in front of windows 30 feet wide and see nothing.”

I’ve known a few men like this in my time. Men who would never notice the sweet sound of birds before dawn. Men who could never enjoy the smell of rain after a period of dryness or the way the light hits the trees at a certain time in the late afternoon.

Sometimes I want to grab my daughter by the shoulders and say “Don’t ever get old. Don’t ever grow out of finding romance in the ordinary. Don’t ever stand in front of a 30 foot window and not see.”

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