Most of the time, I walk through the world in a cacophonous daze, blinded and deaf by the noise in my head, unseeing. But I've been practicing being aware of my surroundings, making an effort to turn down the chatter and take in what's all around me.
What happens is transportive. The scents of spring surround me. Lawns being mowed. The green buds of camellia, magnolia, forsythia and cherry aching to burst open. The air has been washed clean, is damp and fresh. Colour is returning to the area - well-hydrated greens, but also the earliest blossoms. White snowdrops. Purple croci. The sunshine of daffodils.
In our built world, when I slow down I see things that normally disappear in my haste. I suddenly see the homeless person and slow down enough to smile and wish him a warm evening. On this day, that has to be enough. I spot graffiti art from my elevated spot in the parkade, and wonder about its creator. What does he or she want us to know when we see their art?
And, if I really look around, I see the cheeky grin of an old friend - a grin that has always been there; I only had to look.