Some days I struggle with where I live. Hiding parts of myself away from the world just to make life easier in this conservative environment is trying. But it's necessary, I have a great job teaching and I want it to stay that way until I'm ready to make a shift. I don't want it forced on me by narrow minded bigots. I've recently been holding the hand of a colleague who has been dealing with this and it has weighed on my mind.
So instead of being a Debbie Downer, I decided to keep a visual journal in my mind of lovely images seen in the countryside. Here are a few tidbits from yesterday:
A cute older couple carrying handfuls of vegetables out of their large garden
A ponytailed girl leaning over a fence talking to her paint pony
A friend who decided to celebrate her ice-maker by having a cold drinks party
A trip to the grocery store that took an hour because I kept seeing people I knew
A feral cat following a deer across a field
A neighbor sitting under the shade of weeping willow rubbing his dog's belly
These little slices of life, combined with the mouth-dropping background of the Blue Ridge mountains make all the little vagaries of small-mindedness seem less significant. It's like a meditation, this noticing. When I can be intentional about noticing the tiny interactions between people, animals, even nature itself, it makes my store of knowledge broader. And broader knowledge of humanity translates to fodder for writing. So my gift to you today is to suggest that you go forth and notice. Notice everything. Then write it down.