the art of paying attention

miscellaneous bits of kitchen debris
June 29, 2012
the soul's aperture
November 13, 2012

It is the small details of life that count for me, and I will never apologize for seeing them, for falling in love with them, simple as they are. I resist the mundane when I truly pay attention to the great commotion, the chaos, this ultimate beauty that seems to spring out of nowhere, and nothing…all of a sudden. I move my hands around a cup of hot and wispy earl grey tea and it instantly warms up whatever cold was left in me. Its energy becoming my own; everything transforming from something to something else. My serrated knife meets with the proud resistance of the leathery, hard and crunchy outer layer of a freshly baked loaf of artisan bread. I break through it with some effort to find it is completely yielding and soft on the inside, watching as a volcano of enticing steam, the scent, the very soul of the bread, escapes and dances in the air. Slowly, whimsically, it permeates and slithers across the room, down the hallway, through the cracks in my front door, into the shared corridor of this ramshackle apartment building. I’m sure the neighbors will be filled with home-baked envy. I open the tight seal of a jar of raspberry jam I purchased from a homesteader at the farmer’s market last week, slathering it onto a crudely cut, thick and chewy slice. The jelly starts to melt, and I can smell summer, feel the hot and sticky juice of the fruit stuck between the fingers of my childhood. I imagine a busy kitchen crowded with large boiling pots and air drying glass jars, ready and waiting to be filled up. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for those people who partner with Mother, who waste nothing and want nothing. I can taste the salvation of the earth in this perfectly delicious bite. My senses are dancing the flamenco, stamping their feet, clapping their hands. Such a full and complete moment, teeming, brimming over, subtly ecstatic. My eyes are guided out the window and I realize it has started snowing. Oh, this first moment, this first breath of a newborn winter, and I am here witnessing it. My roommate found his lost art today, and I have found mine – the art of paying attention.