No Time To Stand Beneath The Boughs And Stare As Long As Sheep Or Cows.
I was gently chided by an anonymous reader after my last post, as you can read in the comments. My immediate response was to say that there are always things to stop and stare at. My mind went back to one of my favourite spots on the ridge above the village. Sadly my legs won't carry me up there these days so I can only visit it in my memory. Behind the village is the steep-sided valley of the Rio Higuerón, and beyond that the mountains. On the ridge, below the spot where the castle used to stand, is a low wall which I could sit down on in comfort and take in the view. It's a peaceful, quiet spot and you are usually alone, the only sounds being the wind and the occasional bird. If I was very lucky, I would sometimes see an eagle come gliding down from the high peaks and silently by, on down the river valley. If there was an odd cloud or two, and often there wasn't, I could watch the shadows move across the folds of the mountain. A beautiful, peaceful seat to sit for twenty minutes or so before descending once again to the village. I suppose these are the kinds of things that we think of when we consider stopping and staring, but you don't need solitude. Have you ever stopped and stared in a shopping mall? Every week we go to the hypermarket about twenty minutes from home to do our grocery shopping. And then we go along to an icecream stall with tables where we sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. People are passing the whole time, arriving or leaving. I love people watching. A couple of weeks ago, it struck me how much there was to see if you just watched them walking by. We all know about walking; it's where you put one foot in front of the other, over and over, to take you from A to B. But if you stop and stare, it's amazing just how many different ways people find to accomplish this simple activity. Some stride out, others shuffle. Some are hunched over as they trudge along, whilst others are standing so tall and straight and walk in such an energetic manner that they could almost be puppets suspended from invisible strings. Some know exactly where they want to be and head there looking neither to right nor left, whereas others pause and turn and turn again and go a bit further, then look back. There is always something to stop and stare at, wherever you are. It's just a matter of taking the time to do it.