Called out of ourselves by the scent of a wild rose, the stunning yellow spike of goldenrod – and we answer back

Laura Sewall

“Crickets call to the east. A chopper ratchets a mile to the west. I sit in the middle, my left ear seduced by the soft cadence, the evershifting song of crickets in spring. My right ear is hollowed out, hard, both braced against and invaded by the clipped din of machinery. I am beginning to cry. I have felt the breath and nudge of the Dreamtime and know that it is beyond my threshold of perception, just beyond my reach, just a slip of consciousness away. I long for my serpentine thirst to be quenched by the dreaming, long for the look and feel of ultimate belonging and the sensuous play of being embedded, in bed with the world, dug in and dirty. But the phone rings, my endless list of things to do nags, haunts, and fills my consciousness. I too perceive the invisibles. In this case, they are mostly petty preoccupations- the trip I must make to Safeway, the phone calls I must return, the mail piling up- and the fact of my father, growing old, alone, 3,000 miles away. A phone call to him does not appear on my list. I feel such sadness as daily obligations fill my badgered view. I go blind in order to forget. The daily demands of our lives cause us to narrow our field of vision, shaping and minimizing our view to match a preoccupation with phones and texts or a long list of tasks that are never complete.Then in unconscious defense against the onslaught of modern business as usual, we further minimize the sensations we receive with self-inflicted doses of numbing. Most of us, I dare say, are numb to varying degrees, and for good reasons. This state of being is what James Hillman calls ‘anesthesia.’ Anesthetized, we no longer gasp in sudden wonder, inspire or become inspired as the beauty of the world enters us, for we are artificially numbed. David Abram calls this state ‘collective myopia,’ implying that we see little beyond our comfortable and constrained personal environments, we lack depth perception. When awakened, perception is motivated, like a hunger of the body. And like lovers, our sensing and sensual bodies are fed on sound and scent, feasted by late afternoon light. Because we hunger for the eroticism such sensation affords our bodies, we are pleased to be called out of ourselves by the scent of a wild rose, the stunning yellow spike of goldenrod- and we answer back.”

~ Laura Sewall


Laura Sewall is the Director of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area, a 600-acre site including rare pitch pine forest and Seawall Beach, the largest undeveloped barrier beach in Maine. Her work at Bates College includes facilitating faculty and student research on the conservation area’s beaches and salt marshes. Laura holds a PhD in visual science from Brown University and a Master’s degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School. She is the author of Sight and Sensibility: The Ecopsychology of Perception, and continues to study and write about the relationship between vision, attention and the natural world, with an emphasis on neural plasticity and embodied experience. Laura serves on the board of Maine Rivers and is engaged in clean water law and land conservation in Maine. Laura lives at the end of a peninsula, where the Sprague River meets Seawall Beach and the Gulf of Maine, and where she surf kayaks and gardens to her heart’s content.

Listen to Laura Sewall in her description of the hide tide in a 30 second audio. Inspiring.  Connect here.


Quote Source: Thank you (again) Make Believe Boutique for your daily inspirations. Bio Source: The Natural Histories Project


Comments

  1. Wow. I had to read this a few times, for I would nod one moment and get caught up in my agreement and then return to her words, for they are so beautifully formed. Catching the moments which deserve to be marveled in between the mundane tasks that structure (overly structure?) our days. Heartache and jubilance. Safeway and sacred sights.

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  2. …….may you be inspired to expand into the day…..

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  3. Wonderful post. Thank you.

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  4. “When awakened, perception is motivated, like a hunger of the body…” David, my friend, there seems to be a common thread running through many of your posts…and I’m glad. 🙂

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  5. She writes very well. Powerful piece.

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  6. Another gem David! Sadly, this, “and the fact of my father, growing old, alone, 3,000 miles away,”…is true for me as well. My parents are not alone, but 3,000 miles away and even if I did find a way to be closer, my dad and his wife are in NH, and my mom and her husband are in GA. So, I remain here in OR, wishing, sometimes that we didn’t have so many options in these modern times.

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    • Thank you Debra. And there’s reference to your man (Hillman). Thought about you when I posted this. There is much to think about in this post.

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      • Yes, I saw the Hillman reference. Hillman was one, if not the first person from the field of psychology to incorporate ideas of ecology into psychology. He truly thought that our time was better well spent turning some of our attention out into the world, rather than trying to only fix ourselves.
        It’s a balance obviously…
        I have added Laura’s book to my reading list. Thanks for the post David!
        Debra

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  7. her words are a lovely reminder to stop and open our eyes and our hearts if we begin to lose the feel for life and all of its beauty. wonderful post david.

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  8. Beautiful wise words 🙂

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  9. Reblogged this on WORK IN PROGRESS and commented:
    Wow. Now that’s what I’m talking about. A moving meditation by Laura Sewall. Is it poetry or prose? It would be easier to read with some paragraph breaks, but that’s the only change I’d make. I wish I could write half that well. Even ten percent that well. — John

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  10. Beautiful evocative writing.

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  11. ” I go blind in order to forget”
    I am in tears for she speaks also for me.

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  12. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog and commented:
    Painfully, exquisitely true…

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  13. Reblogged. Thank you David, as always, for your exquisite posts

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