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“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

–Rachel Carson

Occupy. Immerse. Inhabit.

Colorado Rocky Mountains. Photo Courtesy of John Gritts.

Colorado Rocky Mountains. Photo Courtesy of John Gritts.

By Page Lambert

(As originally published on her blog on June 25th, 2013)

I want to get better at inhabiting, at occupying my landscape, moment by moment – like the otter below inhabits hers. Almost completely immersed. I want to know intimately the physical world where the outer story of my life takes place. After all, isn’t this where our thoughts feel most at home? How is storytelling any different?

“Writing the outer story is a matter of sending yourself on the journey, sending yourself through the moment to find the new thing in it…. Don’t think, but watch instead: occupy…” (from Ron Carlson Writes a Story, Graywolf Press).

No matter how long a horse has inhabited a terrain, if something new suddenly appears, his attention will be riveted toward it. The boulder that has rolled down the hill during the night to lodge against a sage brush might be a crouching mountain lion waiting to attack his herd. The rogue horse snorting around the edges of the band of mares might be a rival, a challenge to be dealt with immediately. The physical world is not a passive place. It demands action. And it demands our attention. Photographer Mary Dobbs intimately inhabits, even if only for a moment, every landscape seen through her camera lens. She has taught herself the importance of focused attention.


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