12 September 2007

Gazing into space

One of the goals of this year-long study of local grasses is to spend more time looking at the real world and less time looking at the newspaper and the web. It seems to me that we would learn far more about the world and our place in it just by observing nature, the built environment, and people going about their lives. Sometimes I wonder how much I actually learn from reading breaking news on the web or paging through the New York Times.

Again, Thoreau had it spot on: "Men will pay something to look into a traveling showman's box, but not to look upon the fairest prospects on the earth." (quoted from the Thoreau blog)

However, it feels a little lame just to stare into space. In American culture, you need to be doing something while looking at the world--having a cell phone in your ear, listening to your ipod, or, at the very least, sitting on a yoga mat. Just meditating on life's rich pagent alone makes you look a little like some creepy guy on medication. Perhaps I'll just wear a bluetooth earpiece the next time I walk through the Botanical Garden.


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