It’s About Seeing
Recently while I was working out I noticed that several unrelated objects randomly placed on the coffee table formed a colorful still life: an ancient paperback copy of Larousse’s French dictionary (sitting on top of my other French class books), my 2013 Texas Poetry Calendar, a set of my granddaughter’s word-and-picture flash cards, the UU World magazine, and some weights.
I’ve been doing this for years. At church recently I noticed a conversational group of people who were perfectly color-coordinated in shades of blue and purple. Another Sunday, many of my fellow church-goers (including me) were wearing the same shade of dull moss-green. I was always the one at work who observed who “got the memo” and showed up wearing red and black, or the same shade of blue shirt with khakis. I notice when the cars around me in traffic or a parking lot seem to be bunched together by color. I have a poem, Why I Write Poetry, with a line about the jewel tones of all the runners on the hike-and-bike trail.
And it’s not just a visual thing. I notice it with words and even music as well. Flipping between two radio stations in the car, from classical to jazz, I’ll notice that the two pieces of music are in the same key. Sometimes I’ll be reading and the TV is on and I’ll read a word—any odd word, like “bishop” or “horizon” or “strawberry,” and at the same moment I’ll hear the same word on TV. One of the weirdest was when “Wake up Little Susie” was playing on an oldies station in the car. At the exact moment the Everly Brothers were singing “Oooh la la,” I passed a Pepsi billboard with the same words.
I have read Jung’s book on synchronicity and find it fascinating. I used to have a sort of Jungian view that these were messages from the Universe. Many years ago I had tickets to see the violinist Joshua Bell, and for days I ran across bell-related images and words. Literally, I thought I needed to be listening to these “bells.” I never found any deeper meaning, and I now believe these phenomena happen everywhere, all the time, and anyone can notice them if they pay attention. At lunch with a friend the other day, we talked about whether we do this because we are artists, or if we become artists because we do this. He likes the way Café Express arranges sweeteners in a display that makes them look like arrangements of flowers, and he has photographed them at different locations. An architect and designer, he thinks the artist/poet comes first and we see this way because we’re artists, not the other way around. It was reassuring to discover maybe I’m not so terribly weird.
Since bloggers are artistic and creative, I’d love to hear from others who share this strange little gift.
Soon after I posted this I was looking at pictures taken yesterday at the zoo in Waco, and realized we were in perfect red, white and blue!