Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It's strange how the mind works. There's a stream of subconscious memories flowing continuously beneath our radar that influences us think or do things for reasons we're often unaware of.

When I downloaded this picture to my computer, my mind jumped back forty decades to when I was in college and worked as a cashier in J.M. Fields--a department store that has long since gone out of business.

I had a reputation among the various department managers as someone who could restore order from chaos, as in: refolding and organizing a customer-mussed pile of baby clothes, rearranging cups, plates, and wine glasses on the shelves in the housewares department, and folding bras—some with cups big enough to fit my head—and organizing them by size. Not rocket science, but an inherently pleasurable task making things neat is.

The long-ago praise from managers, so rare in jobs like that, still comes to mind when I'm organizing something--a kitchen cabinet, a sock drawer, a piece of writing—and for some reason, this photo made me think of it yet again.

This photo "neatens up" the tangled thicket of grasses, vines, and shrubs, pulling the important things (to me) to the fore, and downplaying the rest.

That's part of the lure of photography. Out of the myriad of things that assault the eyes and compete for attention, I can focus on one and pull a single image out of the clutter, one simple shot from among the millions I could have taken.

An inherently pleasurable thing to do.

Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. ~Albert Einstein


deanna said...

Great thoughts and quote. I'm not so good at "neatening" up, but I like the challenge, especially with words.

Pauline said...

ah, the eternal ability to focus - I am constantly trying to get my second graders to see the value in this. The photo is lovely.

Wanda said...

Oh I loved this read, and really relate to your comment that it's "Not rocket science, but an inherently pleasurable task making things neat."

I love neatness, and now that I'm retired, can see that the extra time even makes is more enjoyable. Keeping the silverware drawer neat. Knowing where every pot and pan goes at well as the pantry.

To me, it just makes life simple when you are organized.

I clean as I go (cooking/baking) and by the time the item is in the oven, the kitchen is clean.

Wish we could just chat over tea, as I would love to pick your brain for more of your ideas on "Simple".

Love and Hugs

Gary said...

Beautiful use of focus, that photo. I would like to be neat. I would like to know where everything is. I would like to live in one of those Japanese-style houses where nothing is visible except a spare flower arrangement.