Throughout the entirety of my youth, my father was a veritable fountain of — what shall I call it? — “country wisdom.” Hearing him wax philosophical about every possible subject under the sun, I often wished for nothing more in my young life than for him to step on a rusty nail and develop a permanent case of lockjaw.
Imagine my surprise in adulthood, then, as I slowly began to discover how so many of the things I hated to hear him say, so long ago, suddenly started to make sense. One of his mystical expositions, which I find reflected now in the clip above, tolled a bell buried deep in time again today:
“It ain’t just what you see, but how you see it.”
Who wouldn’t thrill, for instance, to see a young peregrine falcon come to ground and rest awhile, casually cycle through its repertoire of ever-fascinating bird behaviors, then launch again into the wild, spiraling away on the winter wind to fade a distant speck first in my straining eyes, and then binoculars, as I followed it farther out over the endless ocean than I ever imagined a falcon might care to go.
But keeping pace behind such beauty in the foreground of my mind’s eye, was my dad’s wisdom welling quietly up from misty depths of memory, urging fuller appreciation of the encompassing backdrop as well. I could all but hear his voice again, teaching me to taste the salty wind whipping into my face, and not just see the churning, frothing, storm-tossed waves, but close my eyes and fully feel the thundering power of nature all about me. His words whispering from the past, ever encouraging me to be fully present, whenever I find myself where I am.
Thus on Nature’s Coast, or anywhere else, I do my best to more-than-see beauty surrounding me … grateful, now, that my dad never stepped on a rusty nail.