Looking vs. Seeing

Recently I had the opportunity to go through Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I had driven via Interstate Highway 94 through a small part of the park on several occasions but had never actually gone through the park.

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I had always thought of that area as pleasant, even nice.  But it wasn’t until going through the park that I saw how truly beautiful it is.  I finally understood why it was worthy of being a national park.

At one point we had stopped to watch antelope run across an area filled with prairie dog burrows.  As we sat there, I noticed the antelope….the hillside of color behind them…. in the foreground prairie dogs whistling and feeding.  I didn’t just look at the landscape, animals and color.  I was truly seeing the beauty of the moment and experiencing it in its entirety.

It has been a couple weeks since I was in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but I have continued to thinking about the difference between looking and seeing.

In the 1980’s there was a band called “Men Without Hats.”  In the album “Pop Goes the World” one of the songs had the following line: “You can loose your way, You can loose your mind, Keep your eyes and still be blind.”

Have you ever been so preoccupied with an idea or situation that you feel like you are in a fog.  The mindset is that of…if I can only get through this time or take care of this situation or get this idea onto paper then everything will be fine.  But it isn’t.  One misses out on living life because the focus is so intense that one can’t see anything else.  One can be actively looking for something so specific that they miss seeing everything else going on right in front of them.

I am guilty of this myself.  On occasion,I have to remind myself to look at the world around me.  Not just look….. but to really see it.  Enjoy it.  Experience it.  I tell myself to do this because I never know what I will see when I allow myself the chance to really look.  Who knows?  Maybe the next thing that I see will inspire my next creative project.

My challenge to you is to take a moment to look around today.  Experience a moment in its entirety.  What do you see?