We have forgotten what beautiful is, how it feels to play in the dirt.
I had just finished cleaning the kitchen after dinner tonight. Singin', dancing a bit, and then I answered the phone. She had all the reasons why they were wrong and the data to back it up while I was watching a raccoon try to open my sliding glass window.
There are so many reasons to be concerned, I agree. We are concerned about having so many concerns and judge others for their concerns because they don’t jibe with what we think are the real concerns and we get concerned about that.
We've become small and have stopped wondering at the wonder of beautiful things.
From the universe to a planet to a continent to a country to a state to a city to a home to a room to a little bitty box telling us all the things we should be thinking about. You are wrong and you are not smart or pretty enough to understand all the things so hush. Let us do it for you. Be quiet little one.
There is nothing useful on that screen but still we get lost in the mesmerizing colors, don't we? It seems like we are caging ourselves into smaller and smaller crevices of echo chambers, echoing back how powerless we are.
Do you remember how it felt to light fireworks? It was a little bit scary but if someone was with you it was exciting.
Do you remember the smell of an independent bookstore? It was dusty, slightly moldy, and papery with a metallic scent that, as a kid, I thought was caused by the silverfish in the pages. Perhaps it was just from the blood spilled to write all of the words in all of those books. Do you remember the mystery held there? I’m sorry for those of you who are too young to know how it felt to walk into a small bookstore with an old man behind the counter. His name was Red.
Do you remember how it felt to hold a record in your hands? We held it with the edges against our open palms so that we wouldn’t scratch it. Learning to set the needle down in just the right spot was easily mastered but we would challenge ourselves by trying to find the exact groove for a certain line in a song. And do you remember how exciting it was to open a new album, hoping with all the little stars in your body that the band was kind enough to include the lyrics?
These are beautiful things.
At my previous job I had an office with a window that looked out over the Music Center and the DWP building in Downtown LA. DWP is perhaps my favorite building of all time, especially at sunset. The play of the light of the skyline against the moat against the windows was masterful. I would often pull my colleagues in to see how stunning the view was.
My friend Stephanie once said to me, “You always keep your eye out for the beauty in things. If not for you Carrie I would not even know what existed beyond this building.”
I thought about what she said tonight after spending hours in my house working and cleaning and eating. Time well spent singing and chatting with my people, having fun, but as day turned to night I went from my kitchen to my living room to my office to my computer and to my phone, getting smaller and more lost in the unbeauty of things.
So instead, I headed out the front door at 10pm to stand in the middle of my yard and looked up. All I had to do was look up. I didn't have to click on anything. The stars are still there. Mars is so orange, you can pick it out right away. The stars are silent and don’t bring with them a dopamine rush but instead a sort of soul rush that feels ancient. At first it feels shameful, the moment of remembering that they are here while I was just wasting time on the little box, mesmerized by the pretty colors. What are we doing?
It was the kind of soul rush you get from singing along with the lyrics in hand, laying on your stomach on your bed at 14 years old. The kind of soul rush you get from turning the next page as a silverfish slivers across the paper making you yelp and jump out of your bed. The kind of soul rush you get from the hush in between things.
Come look. It is so beautiful.
You are dying. Pay Attention.