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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I never noticed that I no longer noticed

Pin It ...until the day it was gone.

Funny how that works out, isn’t it? Something in life becomes so commonplace that—after awhile—you simply no longer even perceive it anymore. For instance, that ring that you wear on your finger as a reminder of promises made, or the bottles of vitamins in the medicine cabinet that you should be taking each and every day.

That’s the way it was with the house.

I’d been driving on a particular stretch of road for the past 5 or 6 years on my way to work; after awhile, the road became so familiar to me that I’d be driving and my thoughts would wander. Before I knew it, I was pulling into my parking stall with little or no recollection of the events which had happened in between.

Kind of scary to be honest—but that’s the way it can sometimes be with things which are all too familiar.

A year ago I left on a trip for a hefty chunk of the summer, and when I returned I drove to work to get ready for the new school year which would be commencing in just a few weeks. As I drove along the once-familiar roadway, it felt strangely unfamiliar and fresh to me. It was like I was seeing it for the first time with new eyes.

When I reached a crossroads where I usually made a right turn, I looked straight ahead and noticed that the house was gone…I’d looked at this house for so many years, it had become a sort of permanent fixture in the surrounding landscape. To see it gone was bizarre.

I paused for a moment and stared at this now-vacant lot. The double story was at that instant, nonexistent.

I immediately thought of the family who’d once lived there; not that I’d ever known them…because I hadn’t. However, I had seen them having get-togethers during the long, lazy days of summer, and I’d seen their children occasionally standing out in the frosty mornings, awaiting the bus to take them to school.

A car horn sounded behind me, giving the prompting to complete my turn. As I drove, my mind catavaulted through the memory banks of time, and all I could recollect about this house.

However, the barren lot soon became the new permanent fixture in my mind’s eye. I forgot all about the house which had once occupied this space, and seeing the empty area became my new reality.

That is, until the day I noticed the garden.

Somewhere in the weeks and months which had flown by, someone had planted a garden where the foundation of the house used to be. Tall rows of corn reached toward the heavens while buttery-colored pumpkins and rosy tomatoes swelled to perfection. The garden was occupying the same space the house had. It was surreal. The two images seemed to flicker back and forth in my mind, like one of those holographic pictures which shows you one thing and then another, but both in the same space.

As I watched this garden grow over the ensuing months, I noticed the subtle changes as time progressed steadily onward. It was this garden which set me to thinking. (It seems that I do my best thinking in the early mornings while on my way someplace—usually work).

I thought of the garden growing in the place where the house had stood, and the family which had lived on that very piece of ground—like that garden, a family had once grown therein.

A family garden.

I found myself wondering about that family—wondering about myself. What kind of growth have I had over the years? What is it that I will reap at the harvest of my existence? Like that garden growing from the rich earth, the only things of value which will really come of it will be those things which I sow. Where there is no labor, there will be no reaping.

But for now, I can only hope when I’m no longer noticing…I’ll start to notice.


Rachel said...

Have you ever read, "The Little House"? Your post today made me think of that book.


I think the not noticing until it is gone is most poignant in relationships. Taking each other for granted and not noticing what we do for each other. And when that person is either gone or stops......and THEN we start to notice.....it is usually too late!

Thanks for reminding me to quit zoning out while I am driving through life and to take notice of those around me and all that they do for me.

Anonymous said...


Mamma has spoken said...

It's those changes that makes us realize we are still alive. Thank goodness for those changes.

Richard & Natalie said...

Oh... Mamma took mine!
Thanks for a great "thinking" post.

Jess T said...

Lovely post.

Lori said...

I love the way your brain works.

Timely, unintrusive reminder to appreciate things while they're here, even if they're just landmarks in our subconscious field of vision.

Teachinfourth said...

Rachel - I have read that book before. As a child I loved it...

Bonnie - Just so long as there aren't too many of them.

Natalie - In my class we call that, "Stealing thunder." Thanks for reading what it is I happen to compose...sometimes I wonder if it is indeed 'blogworthy.'

Jess - Thanks.

Lori - I just hope I never fail to enjoy the people in my life...those are the ultimate 'landmarks' in one's life.

Teachinfourth said...

Anonymous - Sorry I missed your comment...it was 'hidden' there.

I made that word up...

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