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In the eye of the beholder


November 5, 2012
Billie Shelton ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

So there I was last week, driving up the highway from Des Moines, headed home. With me were friends from Los Angeles staying with me for several days. It was right at sunset, a pretty time of day in the countryside, especially in the fall.

Even so, what I was thinking about as we motored along was what time we would be home and when we could get supper ready. Pretty much the same as always when I make that trek.

But my friends? Why, they were looking at the countryside and making remarks such as "Oh, you can see so far here!"

"What a pretty farm that is."

"The (natural) light is just beautiful at this time of day, and did you notice how pretty the clouds are?"

"The color of those trees is amazing. We don't have anything like that in California!"

They were sincere as they marveled at the simple beauty of our Iowa countryside, something those of us who live here don't always really see, while I was focused on putting the miles behind us so we could get back home. All of which got me to thinking about how we each view what's around us. What are we really seeing?

It can be tricky when it's something we see every day as we are on our regular circuit commuting or running errands. What do we really see? Maybe not anything because not only have I seen it all before scores of times, but I'm also busy considering what I need to do next, whom I should call, perhaps what I need to pick up at the store.

That's one of the fun things about having company from out of state, especially if they've never been here before. The everyday to us is new and different to them. The visitors ask questions and see what we don't really see. For instance, I don't always notice what I see out of the big front window at my house, but these visitors remarked about how far one could see and how pretty it was practically the instant they stepped into the house.

When I consider how it is to see through another's eyes, I think about when I had babies and young children and how mesmerized they could be with the simplest things that wouldn't even catch the attention of a grownup-like a bug crawling along the sidewalk or a pretty flower in the garden or maybe the way the sunlight catches reflection from a glass and makes a prism of light.

As I learned once again from my out-of-state friends, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes we need to try harder to actually see what's around us all the time just for the viewing.



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