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Aware(or not)ness

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Aware(or not)ness

One of the things Jeff has been working very hard on (and so, by proxy and interest, have I) is awareness.

We all do this every day, and most of us, in defensive of our lives, are very aware when we drive. We use our peripheral vision to watch other drivers, or suicidal deer. We listen to the noises our engines—the rattles and clunks—often without realizing. If you don’t think the average person listens to the car, then pick any episode of Car Talk with Click and Clack.

We listen more than we know.

We feel how our vehicle drive. We know when the accelerator is sticky, or the breaks aren’t sticky enough. We notice when the car smells funny.

We are very aware on the road—most of us, most of the time.

Recently I drove with Jeff to meet John and Nicole Young (of 8 Shields Institute) where they talked about, among other things, natural history and nature awareness.

I took my awareness to a beach near Santa Cruz.  They were busy talking, and there was ocean nearby.

There is nothing quite like the ocean. People say the stars make them feel small, but really, the stars are so vast I have a hard time grappling with the concept.

For me, the ocean is both comprehensibly vast, and incomprehensible in what I am missing. So I sit on the beach and feel small and awed all at the same time.

In Santa Cruz, I had a little over an hour to spend looking at the ocean, so despite local advice on which beach to go to, I drove down the road and stopped at the very first ocean view with a parking lot.

It was a beautiful little cove, with a seaside cave breathing ocean spray like a dragon and pigeon guillemots swimming around looking very formal and serious, until you saw their clown orange feet and heard their squeaking, babbling conversation.

I took my binoculars, because it is the ocean and ocean birds. I love watching their antics with enhanced optics. I wanted to practice my nature awareness, and so I picked a spot on the surprisingly empty beach and glassed out across the ocean.

The guillemots were alternately fishing, then flying to the cliffs to have a lively debate about something—the quality of rocks maybe? The weather? Who had the most orange feet?

I was completely absorbed, when out of my peripheral vision (which I have been working on, as I mentioned) I catch a flash of pink.

Fleshy-colored pink, and a whole lot of it.

Which is how I, working on my great nature awareness, ended up on a naturist beach in Santa Cruz with a set of binoculars.

Awareness. It’s a tricky thing.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nice. Sometimes I am hearing words from others about politics, gas prices, etc, and I’m all along observing the bird in the tree or wondering where it is heading or why the clouds are forming in the west. I reflect and ponder what is more important.

    May 13, 2012
  2. Dainis #

    Ha! We had to hike down a long railroad track to a small secluded pond near Geneseo NY for that sort of thing. No guillemots, unfortunately.

    May 13, 2012

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