Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some random observations

It is taking me forever to get through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is such a good book with so many points that I want to process, that I end up re-reading paragraphs and whole pages to fully absorb what Pirsig is saying. Something that I read in the book the day before yesterday is something that I teach my students when I teach art: "The more you look, the more you see." This principle applies to every aspect of life, and it is something that I have been forgetting to do lately; so the last couple of days, I have tried to be intentional about looking more. These are some of the things that I noticed in my observations:

When it rains, the cows' fur goes from wavy to curly, just like my hair.

Chickens move faster than you can imagine when they hear food. Today I was standing on the upper house porch hanging out some laundry when "our grandmother" called the chickens that were all pecking around in the front yard to the back of the house to give them some food. In less than 3 seconds, the front yard was completely cleared out as all the chickens and roosters ran, flapped, and squawked their way to the back. I didn't know they could move that fast!

This may not really be an observation, but a new practice -- in order to keep my place in any line (or, what would be a line in other places), I have to get aggressive and pushy. Georgians don't generally form lines. They just pile around each other trying to get in front of the person who was there before them. So, someone like me who is patient and not pushy will be edged out over and over again. At the bank today this happened to me twice before I decided to act like the Georgians, although I find the behavior extremely rude. It worked, and even though I felt really bad elbowing my way back in front of the woman who stepped right in front of me, she didn't seem to think anything of it. Oh dear.

Winter in a sub-tropical climate is when one of my favorite flowers blooms: camellias! They are in full bloom right now. Beautiful!

The generation-gap exists here, too. I'll be writing a post about this sometime soon.....

Water buffalo are much snottier than cows. (Is "snottier" a word?)

A 17-passenger marshutka can hold more than 40 people. On my way into town this morning (to pay my internet bill), I decided to count how many people got into the marshutka. Counting the driver, I counted 41. Then I couldn't see anymore. We stopped two more times before getting to town, but I couldn't tell if someone got on or off.

It's almost February, and there are already signs of spring in the village. The rose bushes have new growth. The grass is getting greener. The hazelnut trees have developed some kind of flowery-thing like maple trees. Lots cows and pigs and cats are pregnant. Garden plots are plowed and ready for planting.

Birds are more visible in the leaf-less winter trees. I saw a beautiful one today that I have never seen before. It had an orange head with a beady, black eye and long, slender, black beak. The small body was gray and black. I tried looking up Georgian birds online, but didn't have any luck finding the one I saw.

I am really looking forward to experiencing Spring here in the village. Being so engulfed by nature in all its forms will make the transformation more meaningful and poignant than ever. I want to remember to look more so that I can see more. Noticing what is going on around me will also help me to stay grounded in the present, too -- something else that I have difficulty with!

So, maybe it's time for a new mantra. My previous "Spontaneity and flexibility" is pretty natural for me now, so "Look more, see more" will be my new one.

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