I’m often wandering about this world seeing things that seemingly no one else does. On road trips, Sean will see me staring out the window and make comments on the things that he thinks I’m taking note of. It’s always amusing to him that I will have been looking in the exact direction of his focus but I cannot, have not, seen what he does or has. My focal point is so often so different from his. I will be caught up in the way the sun shines through the trees. Or the way a pond (or slough) glistens as the sun shines upon it. I find power lines in the middle of the country striking, and there’s something completely evocative about a farmer’s field full of bales of hay. Silhouettes are breathtaking. I love the simplistic graphic design of signs. Windows, stairs, bricks, patterns, lines… There is beauty around every corner, in every thing. We just need to open our eyes and appreciate what we see.
As I wandered around Whyte Ave in Edmonton with 2 children in tow, one my own, the other a friend, both young minds that I help mold by home schooling them, I was struck by the beauty of a barbed wire fence. This was a couple of months ago, when it was still warm and we were happy to wander around back alleys, actually in search of street art. We had been having a wonderful discussion about what constitutes art and I was so genuinely interested to hear their thoughts on the matter. I am interested to watch as their opinions change (or not) over time too. As we were searching though, we came across the fence in a back alley.
The fence, looked gnarled and rough, and gave a clear impression that it was to keep you out. But there was just something there, about those barbs; about the way the fence spiraled at the top; about the way the lines stretched out imperfectly from the corner posts; about the way it looked that day against that beautiful vivid blue sky; that tugged inexplicably at something in me.
And so I snapped a photo and I look at it often, because finding beauty in unexpected places is like the Universe giving me a gift. This fence is not the same thing as a sunset or sunrise. It’s not the same as a field of hay bales, or trees, or a wild animal that you get to view in its natural habitat. It’s really unlike any number of amazing sights that nature can conjure up and offer to you or me. It’s different in so many ways. But it is a gift nonetheless, and I want to make sure that I accept and express gratitude for those gifts on every single occasion.