Did you know that we live in a beautiful place? I forget sometimes. I’ve been here long enough that I’ve forgotten to be a tourist in my own backyard. Everything has become “normal” and I forget to notice the astounding beauty surrounding me. I know I’m supposed to, but inertia takes over and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, never pausing to notice.
Autumn leaves are nature’s way of tripping us out of our chronic torpor. Fall is like a toddler stomping their feet and screaming “look at me! Look at me! LOOK AT ME!” We can’t help but notice. And noticing does not go un-rewarded. Colors crawl slowly down the mountain like waking on a lazy Sunday, tiptoeing into our beds before jumping up and down yelling “wake up!”
And so autumn becomes the noticing season. You can tell by the sudden appearance of weekend traffic jams in Wilkesboro-people are noticing. Seasonal changes seem designed to make us pay attention. The first appearance of green in the spring after the greys of winter, the fall leaves after we’ve become immune to green in the long-winded summers, all these shifts, year after year, stop us and force us to look up to pay attention to the beauty around us.
I read this the other day: “How wonderful is it that we laugh because our bodies cannot contain the joy”. I love to laugh. Who doesn’t? I love the random acts of funny that people create just for the amusement of others. This, I believe, is the only true altruism. Have you heard of improv everywhere? They’re a group of random people that create amusing live acts mostly in New York City just for the amusement of other people. And how about all the funny memes all over the internet that are created just for our laughter. The creators don’t even get to see us laugh! But they create them and send them out into the world anyway. Humor connects us.
I have had complete strangers send me pictures of faces in things, and distant acquaintances send me puns. I love that people far away from me see an amusing thing out there in the world and think of me and want to share a moment of laughter with me. Humor can cross distances both physical and political. I mean, kitten antics are funny in any language and no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. So, let’s all take a moment together to let the joy escape us in magnificent laughter. What have we got to lose?
Someone recently pointed out that we are never quite done becoming. That we are not just one “thing”. For so long I’ve clung to the identity of “farmer”, it never really occurred to me that I have already been other things, and that I still have yet to become another “thing” or two. That it can be “also” rather than “and then”.
It is in this knowledge that I find myself longing for the bourgeois tableau. For the mingling of writers and artists and absinth and low hanging smoke. For the Café Deux Magot and the Stray Dog Café and the inspiration and illusions that smolder there. To eat and drink and dance unimpaired by the mundane, to let go the tangible if just for a moment.
And then return to hands in the soil, the humility of growing food, the practicality of the peasant. To come back to the solidity of “farmer”. Nothing like a free fall to make you appreciate roots.