Are You Paying Attention?
On foot or in my car, watching for oddities and distinct images of nature occupies my mind as I walk or drive (see Did You See That? from February 2022). Across a country road, I notice not just an old truck in a field, but an old truck hauling an oversized hamburger and fries. Crack me up! Who spends their free time doing that? If you drive around enough during the holidays, there’s a high likelihood you might see a pine tree at the edge of a wooded area decorated for Christmas. I have. Just one tree in the grove – all the rest didn’t get the full-on seasonal flare. Why that one? The question lingers for miles. In fact, years later, I still wonder. How about that palm tree and twin lights that together look like a Muppet. Yep, I noticed that, too. I notice lizards on the ground being devoured by ants (ooo, gross) and vapor trails bisecting the sky (see Vapor Trails from December 2011).
Sometimes I notice a one-of-a-kind object, which is an encore of a previous two-of-a-kind encounter. I once sat in traffic next to a car covered with Cupie dolls glued to the hood and trunk. Again, I ask, why? I think about it again when I see the truck headed west to Burning Man with a few – dozen, maybe hundred – stuffed animals strapped to it. When I stopped along the empty road in Nevada to see the colored hats near no civilization except the pavement (see The Idiot Tree from December 2011), I never imagined I would pass another, until I cruise along U.S. Highway 50 in western Utah and discover the tree covered in shoes. Humans crack me up.
Rings And Bulls
What’s the singularly unique object out of all the seemingly original objects I’ve encountered while walking around this planet? That’s easy. Along the West Orange Trail I noticed on my right side a small box from Kay Jewelers on the ground, open, exposed and empty. So. Many. Questions. Was it empty when it landed there and its contents absconded? Or was the ring kept and the box inconsequential? Was the ring received? Stolen? Of sentiment or importance? All that is there is an empty box – recently emptied, not damp or rained upon – and I still wonder about what was inside, even today.
From my car, I consider moose even more amazing that bison (see Beautiful and Tasty from March 2021) because the bison herds are corralled while the moose wander aimlessly, hungrily, happily through life. I saw a cow and calf wandering in the Bighorn National Forest, which I found even more spectacular of a moment than the time I saw a few bulls together from a distance. And yes, whenever possible, I slow down enough to snap a photo. It’s how my brain is wired. Every time I see a moose, I think about every other moose I’ve ever seen. There aren’t herds of them following me around, of course, so I admire them when I see them. And as I pass today’s solo bull moose near the edge of the road, it would make sense that I stop the car and capture this moment, but I don’t. I keep driving. Have I reached my curiosity quota? Not even close. It’s not due to the anxiety of getting to my destination before sunset, but rather the dearth of places on this narrow road to turn around to go back and line up the shot. The moose and I are both positioned in a single moment in time and I go my way and he goes his. Even without the picture, I remember him. I remember it all.