Monday, September 8

What’s going on around you?

I’ve come outside to sit in the dark and write because a lightning storm has started in the west, and I want to enjoy it. The last 3 days have been so much hotter than the 3 before it, so the temperature out here is lovely. There starts the thunder… I’m hearing it in the north and the south. Maybe this storm is a big one. Hard to tell because the sky is so black.

Right before the days went hot, we had two days where it rained in the afternoon while the sun was out. The raindrops were huge, and with the sun shining as they fell. It looked like big chunks of glitter were falling from the blue above. It was not just lovely, but cool. If you are a regular reader, you know I love photographing sunsets, and paying attention to the sky. I try to notice clouds, and the momentary beauty they share. Sometimes in the span of 4 consecutive photos, the clouds and the light change. Which makes sharing my photos on fb or instagram hard to choose from. Each one has differences while being identical.

(Wow… big crack of thunder there. Surely it will start raining with that arrival. Phish the cat just headed into the garage through the cat flap, so I guess he finally had enough of the lights and noise.)

One of my favorite things in life is to watch a sunset, and to keep telling it in my mind how much I am enjoying it. Sometimes it feels like the sunset gets prettier by being appreciated.

I often wish to write about what’s going on around me, share some random beauty I’m seeing, and usually I just tell the universe, figuring there isn’t really anyone who cares to hear my thoughts about glittery rain, or clouds anyway.

One of my favorite and most influential books in life is about being present. To not continually think about tomorrow or yesterday because you can’t change what did happen, and you don’t know what will happen. I haven’t perfected the being present thing, but I work on it continually, so I catch myself when I’m not giving my full attention to the task at hand, or the person at face. 

One thing I’ve noticed about this, depending on who I am interacting with, and how present THEY are, usually affects how present I am. I don’t mean to do it, which is to say I treat like with like, but it seems a bit inevitable. Like my mind acknowledges the lack of presence on their part, so I turn inward, and find myself not being as present when they turn and speak to me. This also becomes part of a dynamic you have with some. Some people give you their full attention, so you give them yours, you interact this way, and it’s great fun. Others are in and out, and frankly I find this dynamic puzzling. I’m not good at juggling or playing personality games, so I really find it confusing to know how to act and how to feel when someone regularly jumps from being present to not being so.

I have a friend who regularly checks her phone. Not only is she checking it, she’s playing games, scannning fb, replying to email, texting, listening to voicemail, and seemingly looking for any opportunity to stare at that little screen. It makes my interaction with her very uncomfortable for ME. She is engaged in many things, she is paying attention to lots of stuff, so she does not know or see that I find myself wishing to just excuse myself, so she can be present with her phone only. It’s almost like I’m the interruption, not the phone, and I’ve secretly wished quite a few times I had the guts to say “Should I leave, so you can do phone stuff?”

“Why don’t you?”,  you ask. Well, a few reasons. I’m the one who has chosen to be present. I can’t walk around telling people to read my favorite book before they interact with me. AND, quite a few people tend to do this now-a-days. Some worse than others, regularly picking up their phone to see why it just beeped or vibrated. Others, dealing with every vibration, interrupting conversation to do so, or waiting for the next break in something said, so that it’s not overly obvious they are making the phone important; not being present. Also, in part I see it as a cultural “thing” I have to deal with. This is what people are like in this day and age. Then there’s the fact I’ve mentioned it before, and I don’t like to repeat myself. Not only do I feel like I shouldn’t harp on about it, I feel like if I’ve already said something, and they do it anyway, they are DECIDING it is not something they need to change or stop. I too… am DECIDING it is something I consider rude and inconsiderate. Our freedom resides in how we choose to see things. I also remind myself: I’m in America. People here do not see many things as rude, which would be considered so elsewhere. We are not a country of great manners and courtesy. I get reminded of that just by going to the grocery store.

I fear I sound like I think I’ve perfected being present, and nobody else has… far from it. I catch myself not being present all the time, I’m trying to be present for strangers I speak to, people I know, and people who are not present for me. I fail often, but my attention is on it, and I notice most of the time when I do it.

For now the solitary sunsets and funky weather help me practice being aware of what’s going on around me when I am alone, I will continue to wish for more in my life who want to be present with me, and don’t care as much about phones as they do actual people. Maybe the world is just changing and I would be harping on about swimsuits that cover the upper thighs if I were in the 1920’s.

The lightening has stopped.


  1. I love the mental picture you have given me with that post. I can see you sitting looking out at the weather. I couldn't agree more when you say that you are only going to give your attention to those who stay attentive. There is nothing more comforting than sitting chatting with people who 'get' you. I'm too old and too grumpy to bother with anybody who treat me less than I treat them or I deserve, besides the fact, it's common courtesy........ Love ya' Nat ❤️ I wish you lived closer ��