“Seeing is different from looking: in seeing we deliberately select from the environment.” Donald Graves, Bring Life Into Learning
“BWH? What does that stand for?”
The kind REI employee asked me, pointing to my hat. Billy was off trying on coats.
“Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston.”
“My Dad had a few valves replaced there 7 years ago. They are amazing there! He has since passed on, but they gave him new life back then!”
“Yes, yes. I’ve heard about the great work they do there.”
Billy returned, we thanked the kind man and we went our separate ways.
When we got back home, the gift of 71 degrees in January called me outside to read. I grabbed Beartown, my journal, my pen and plopped myself in my cozy corner. Pausing at the end of a chapter, I looked up and saw the garden cart filled with wood. The meandering lines of the blue tarp covering the wood invited me to see. I grabbed my journal and followed the lines. I sketched. I thought. I remembered. I found myself connecting to a memory that was floating aimlessly in my mind. I grabbed it.
The original cart was a wedding gift 22 years ago. Years of use and a little outdoor abuse led to rotted wood and warped metal, yet it maintained it’s purpose. About two years ago, my Mom and Dad were down for a visit. Billy, knowing my Dad always liked to keep his hands and mind busy, pulled out the cart and together, they replaced the sides and bottom. They measured, they cut. My Mom and I watched. We supervised. They pushed and pulled and gave that cart new life.
The power of not only seeing, but sketching is a process that allows me to connect with ideas and memories. I am always encouraged to continue to grow this piece of my process and share it with others because, as Donald Graves wrote, “Seeing is as essential to the artist and scientist as it is to the writer.”