Traces on a Car

Animals-Cat-Track-iconI thought long and pestered many when deciding on the categories for Aunt Beulah.

Others seemed mystified when I asked for their thoughts on general attitudes and actions that lead to a fulfilling life: “You mean, like, don’t drink and drive? Or something that sounds wiser, maybe, like a rolling stone gathers no moss?”

Finally, like the Little Red Hen, I created the categories on Aunt Beulah’s home page all by myself and clucked with satisfaction.

Recently, however, caught by autumn skies startling in their blue clarity and the quiet conquest of earth tones over summer greens, I’ve thought of something else we can do to live and age well.Animals-Cat-Track-icon

We can notice.

Interesting, unusual, and appealing sights surround us in large and small ways wherever we are. When we encounter such a scene, we will enrich our lives if we study it, savor it, store it away for future musings. Thus Aunt Beulah’s new category: Notice the beauty of your world.
When I walk through my neighborhood, I regularly pass a well-used family sedan parked on the street: a nondescript car with nothing special to recommend it, until a rain-soaked, muddy morning when I found it transformed.

A whimsical artist had created wandering, overlapping, unpredictable strands composed of a repeated pattern — a large, rounded triangle led by four smaller ovals — on the car’s hood, top, and trunk.Animals-Cat-Track-icon

Some strands consisted of lacy speckles, aligned and raised as if stippled atop the car’s surface. Others had a hazy dreaminess: smudged and fading from sight in the whirls of dust and dirt that were the car’s more typical adornment.

I admired the artist’s tantalizing trails of symmetrical spots and smiled as I imagined the owner of the vehicle discovering them: a person, running late for work, who would greet his or her decorated car with either a fond smile and chuckle or an irritated mutter, “damned cat,” depending on the animal’s address.

Animals-Cat-Track-iconI walked on, but the art I found and the smile it caused stayed with me.

What beauty have you noticed in your world of late?


For cats paw icon:





18 thoughts on “Traces on a Car

  1. Oh man, so much. Having a baby is making me look at the world again- she’s fascinated trees, and her goggling up at them from her stroller has really made me notice and appreciate the colors and shapes of the leaves this fall. Her smiling at me mischievously when she wakes me up at 5:30 (never thought I’d smile at being woken up at 5:30)…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I realize most folks think of spring as a time of renewal with flowers blooming and shades of green popping everywhere you look, it is the Fall colors that makes my heart feel rejoice.

    For it is in the Fall that families are at one again, school is in session and there is homework to be done. Holidays are being planned that bring together brothers and uncles, aunts and neices, sisters and brothers and moms and dads who live far away-it is the Fall that makes me happy and my heart sing because I am going to hug the folks I’ve missed! And I am a Grammy for the very first time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a glorious, in-love-with-life comment this is, Franny. I’d never thought about it, but there is an increased sense of family and closeness this time of year. Thank you for describing it so well.


  3. Great thoughts Janet. My friend Mike, always camera ready posted a photo of a ring of yellow road paint- he titled it “someones lost their halo” I love those moments, and beauties duality. Yesterday morning, foggy as a seal’s nose as I waited for the bus, a tugboat was chugging in slow and silent pulling a barge, while up the street a man, a troubled soul screamed in anguish. Autumn always my favorite time of year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Sheila, only you can find beauty in a seal’s nose, a chugging tugboat, and a scream of anguish — and make me see it as well. I can see why you are friends with Mike; sounds like you’re two of a kind.


  4. This is a perfect addition for your blog. I’m taking a MOOC (Massive Online Open Class) presented by the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop right now. I am, as usual, lagging behind on my course work…but just finished up watching a lecture on immersion and setting. Your cat’s paw car is the purrfect example of this sort of writing. Or really, of this sort of living–awake, curious, inclined to wonder. Maybe it’s a crazy-artsy-nut lady thing, but I always am fascinated by the stories of the most ordinary things. I wonder what my dog dreams of when he makes noises, twitches his nose and quickly wiggles his feet to chase something. I look at things in an antique shop and try to imagine the person who bought the item new. How did they feel about it? Did they care or was it just a dishpan and they needed a dishpan? Were they glad to have a new one at last? I think that looking around for newness in familiar settings unlocks so much for us. Like the super slow motion photography that shows the action packed second when a drop of milk collides with a table top…fascinating! And right there before us everyday. Honestly, who ever has time to be bored?

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I thought I was the only one who watched people in an airport and made up stories about them or drove by an abandoned farm along the interstate and wondered about the lives led there. I love the idea of looking around for newness in familiar setting and so much more in your comment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Paying attention, noticing beauty, living mindfully—all are ways to enrich our lives, and all are not practiced often enough (by most people).

    Lately on morning walks with my dog I’ve noticed deer tracks on our path, the return of winter birds, and juniper bushes laden with berries.

    Loved this post!


  6. What a delightful post Janet. Tonight after tea I went outside to de head some roses. It was just so peaceful and beautiful I had to go and get my phone to photograph some of the beauty for tomorrow’s post. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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