My friend Mary had the eye of an artist, and she appreciated color wherever she found it. Â She didn’t just notice carefully-planted flowerbeds where the shades were deliberately picked to harmonize, or a shop window where a decorator had consciously paired accessories for maximum impact. Â She had a gift of seeing the “accidental pairings,” the moments where things of vibrant color just happened to end up side by side. Â She would see them and she would celebrate them.
Take this bin of erasers at the store. Â I would have walked right by it, but Mary looked at it and saw beauty. Â She had her camera with it, so she took a picture.
To me, this photo is a one-frame reminder of Mary’s ability to see. Â It’s also a testament to how separate items work together to create something beautiful — more beautiful than they’d have been on their own.
I think I’m getting better at Mary’s way of seeing. Â Â Where I used to see one lovely and colorful thing in isolation, now I find myself noticing the way that different objects work together to produce something beautiful.
Back in July, for example, Â Scott and I were enjoying an anniversary dinner out, and I suddenly noticed that my Bellini and the napkin were exactly the same color.
When we were in Cooperstown, New Â York, this house stopped me in my tracks. Â I couldn’t get over how perfectly the white and green of the hydrangeas Â and lawn mimicked the trim and shutters.
And just last week, making dinner, I was suddenly struck by how the red of the strawberries highlighted the blue of the blueberries, and vice-versa. Â Â Feeling very much like Mary, I stopped dinner preparations and got the camera. Â I could practically hear her cheering up in heaven. Â “You’re seeing it!” she seemed to say. Â â€œIsn’t it amazing how these colors work together?” Â (If she had taken the photo, it would have been of much better quality.)
I think some people are born with this way Â of seeing the world. Â Others — like me — have to learn it. Â We learn it every time our more clear-sighted friends and family stop what they are doing and pull out their camera, or say, “Look at how gorgeous those erasers are, all together like that!” Â Savoring it is one thing, but sharing it — that, to me, is truly holy.
So maybe that’s a good thing to remember over the next few days. Â Will I see this week through Mary’s eyes, noticing those moments of sudden, surprising harmony? Â And will I take time to share the discoveries with my kids so they can see them, too?