Pay attention

I think about the scene below from the movie Smoke a lot these days in the early mornings. Every morning and every evening, Eddie and I walk for about an hour. In the evening, I tend to change up our routes, but our morning route is pretty fixed because I know it’s about an hour and my brain isn’t quite awake enough to chart new paths. I’ve never in my life been so attuned to the day to day as well as seasonal changes in light, in landscapes – whether orderly gardens or wild empty lots. The light that filters between the bare branches of trees.

This morning as we rounded what I affectionately think of as “the murder corner” (because every time I walk the suddenly isolated stretch in the pitch black pre-dawn I can’t help but hear Robert Stack’s voice in my head saying “If you have any information about Carolyn Coggins or her dog Eddie, please call this number”), I noticed that the pitch black has given way to grey dawn and this morning a hint of a sunrise. And also, suddenly, daffodils! They are everywhere. And the infamous “Australian Cake Bush” is finally blooming so around some corners is a whiff of fairy cake. Sometimes repetition is absolutely stifling and I’ve felt that in many ways this last year, but these morning steps I take every day rain or shine, an intrepid middle aged lady and her middle aged dog, are maybe the best thing about this last year. Slow down.

From the movie, the scene where Auggie shares his many photo albums of taking a picture of the same street corner at the same time every day for years and years (clip in the comments):
“Auggie: You’ll never get it if you don’t slow down, my friend.

Paul: What do you mean?

Auggie: I mean, you’re going too fast. You’re hardly even looking at the pictures.

Paul: But they’re all the same.

Auggie: They’re all the same, but each one is different from every other one. You’ve got your bright mornings and your dark mornings. You’ve got your summer light and your autumn light. You’ve got your weekdays and your weekends. You’ve got your people in overcoats and galoshes, and you’ve got your people in T-shirts and shorts. Sometimes the same people, sometimes different ones. And sometimes the different ones become the same, and the same ones disappear.

The earth revolves around the sun, and every day the light from the sun hits the earth at a different angle.

Paul: Slow down, huh?

Auggie: Yeah, that’s what I’d recommend.
You know how it is.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, time creeps on its petty pace.”

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