I came back to campus with my feet dragging behind me after the whirlwind of my spring break in New York City. I really didn’t want to be back in Indiana.
As classes started up again, I felt sorry for myself as I loafed throughout campus with my head down, trying to figure out a way to finish all my work I had left until the last minute.
But as I sat down and began the reading assignment in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott for my Feature Writing class, I was reminded that I hadn’t really been living at all. Lamott said:
“Try walking around with a child who’s going, ‘Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky!’ And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going, ‘Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud!’ I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world-present and in awe.”
After reading this I felt more alive and part of the world than I had in a long time. Later that night when I walked hunched over in my puffy coat up the long sidewalk to the music building, I began feeling bitter about how freezing it was.
Then I remembered what I had read and lifted my eyes. With reverence I saw the grass, dazzled in frost and shadows dancing in the wind. I began walking in the grass next to the sidewalk so I could feel the satisfying crunch of the frozen grass beneath my feet. “Wow!” I thought, “Look at that golden moon!”
I realized that while I had spent the last few days being stressed out about starting school again, I had been missing out on being present in the world. As Lamott said, “There is ecstasy in paying attention.”