The land fell to meet the water abruptly. Pine trees coated the canyon sides down to where huge rocks clung to the sides of a cliff. The Snake River was rushing below it all. It was breathtaking. Perhaps that’s one reason I was so surprised when Nelson began to ask me about another beautiful sight.
“What are those pretty birds?” he asked.
Nelson Brill, one of my school friends from Scarsdale, New York, had never ventured out west. That’s why we were on this little trip together. He was seeing lots of things he had never seen before. And that’s sort of the way it was for me as well. Nelson kept pointing out things like the birds he was asking about. Things I was taking in as simply “common” and not significant.
“What birds are you talking about?” I said in a truly curious tone.
“The black and white ones,” he said.
The black and white ones? I thought and thought. What could he be possibly referring to? I was stumped.
“Next time you see one, please point it out to me.” I said.
Not long afterward, Nelson pointed to one of the birds I had been too blind to see.
“There’s one right there! It is so beautiful!” he called out.
My eyes followed the sight line of his finger so I could see this magnificent bird, perhaps for the first time. I saw it for sure, but not for the first time. It was a common magpie!
“Oh! Those birds!” I said.
Yet, perhaps I was really seeing them for the first time, this time through Nelson’s eyes. They were beautiful indeed! I had simply been blind to their beauty up to now because I had fallen into the “Trap of The Common Place!”
The trap of The Common Place is something all of us encounter from time to time during our lives. Perhaps some of us are never free of its numbing effects. After all, a person held tightly within this trap’s grip lives in a world projected as if by an old, square black and white television set that lacks scope, depth and color. They fail to see the vivid colors and depth of field offered to everyone who takes the time to look and really see the world as it really is.
Sarah Wood reminded me of that again earlier this week.
“Wow!” She said. “Look at that tumble weed roll! But, I guess you see those all the time?”
“I do often see tumble weeds roll along!” I thought.
“They are quite magnificent!” I thought as I looked through Sarah’s eyes at my common place, which also caused my mind to shift in time to when I first recognized I was living in the Trap of The Common Place.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.