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Date:11/24/2014 5:57:25 AM
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Noticing Things, Part II
Having been a countryman all my life, having been raised by one and surrounded by others, I was taught to look all around me wherever I was. I was taught by my Pa to "walk like an Indian" as he put it, to put your feet one in front of the other, to look down before placing each step and to stop and look frequently. To this day, I'm told by people that my quiet approach is unsettling. Pa would tell me that a white man thrusts nature aside as he walks while an Indian becomes one with his surroundings. He showed me early on how just standing still, even in the open, would be enough to be invisible to the occupants of a moving car. My brothers and I would practice sneaking up on each other when one of us were working outside. That definitely got you into the habit of looking around you from time to time! When out and about with Wild Bill, he would point things out like how the crickets and katydids would go silent as we approached and to use that as an early warning device when camping. (He also showed me that when stalking in the dark and the insects would go silent on you, you could start them back singing again by imitating the katydids scratching whirr. On walks with Pa he would point out that the wild grapes were finally coming back after DDT had been banned or an oriole's nest finally visible after leaf fall in the Autumn. The noticing of things extends from one's footsteps to the very heavens themselves. I like to take notice of the stars. This last Christmas I received a CD enabling me to identify and chart the stars visible at our latitude. I was finally able to name stars that I've wondered about for years. To this day, it bothers me to lose track of what stage the moon is in or the position of the morning or evening star (Venus). More about noticing things coming mid-week. -- Gary
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