I shuffled along the sidewalk yesterday, early on a bitter-cold winter morning, eagerly seeking the sanctuary of dry stretches of sidewalk. On the dry stretches, I lifted my head and stared around and breathed in the crisp air (which resulted in a frozen nose), but more often I found myself tiptoeing along through those slick spots, head down, my eyes on my own feet.
I grumbled to myself a lot. One of the most depressing things about icy, wintery, horrifying sidewalks is that one cannot continue to look around, be immersed in and aware of their own surroundings. I prefer to have my head up, to see what and who is around me. Some of that is urban survival, of course. But I also enjoy spotting little things along the way, as I’m sure is apparant from the images I often include here. Shoe-gazing is claustrophobic, although I suppose it is also a form of urban survival: How Not to Take A Dive On the Ice In Front of Oncoming Traffic, for example. Nevertheless, I spend a lot of time during the winter, while journeying from point A to point B, worrying and stewing about what I am missing.
It was on my mind all day, yesterday. Not just winter-driven ground-gawking, but the year-round lack of environment-awareness that I witness from people on a regular basis. The ones that never pay attention to what is happening around them. And the highest form of this, particularly, are the ones who never, ever actually LOOK UP. I’m not creepy, I should say that first, BUT:
I can stand on my balcony, 7 floors up, and watch people walk by (or lean over the railing and stick my tongue out at them if I had an inclination), and they don’t see me because they are not looking up.
I’ve been perched on a boulder taking a rest, and watched other hikers walk past on the trail right below me, and they don’t see me, because they are not looking up.
I’ll spot some cool thing hanging from a rooftop that no one else around me has seen, because they are not looking up.
Interesting stuff, and just an observation. After pondering this all day, I made my way home at day’s end, merrily looking ’round because I was on a dry stretch, and realized that water was dripping on me despite the fact that I was not necessarily walking underneath anything. So I looked up. And discovered ice melting many, many floors above my head, the dripping of which caught the air just right to splash me right on the noggin.
This made me aware of my own apartment building.
Today, on my way in, I took some Up shots on purpose. While walking on dry stretches, of course.
I figured, at that point, that my internal Up theme was finished. But then, no joke, I received an email from one of my fellow employees this morning, complimenting me on my latest redesign of our Handbooks in which I used, for the cover, a photograph of our building that I had taken last summer:
They turned out nice and I have to admit, I have never noticed the little window on the top of the building…Guess I should look up more!
You can’t beat weird timing like that. I’m glad something I did made her pay attention to the world above our heads.
To close, never forget that the act of looking up can also be beneficial to one’s safety and well-being, as well.