Lift Thine Eyes To The Hills

There is a somewhat short butte four blocks east of my house. It is a city park. This outcropping of rocks, grass, and trees is as wide at the top as one football field, and as long as two football fields.  Poderosa pines cover the sides,  and is home to a large flock of vultures in the summer and fall. It is in the middle of a well established residential area . There are walking trails, a play ground,  and picnic areas on it.  It is an easy climb to get to.

The butte is fairly flat at the top, and on the western edge there is a water tower.  The water tower is shaped like a grain bin and is about three stories tall. It sits squat on the ground, and it is visible for blocks. It is visible from my house. I have seen it countless times over the past 30 years.  It has always been a blotchy, rusty,  silver color.

Imagine my surprise on Wednesday when I was driving past the park and I noticed that the water tower was now a delicate shade of baby pink. No one paints in the winter, so it must have been painted months ago, and I didn’t notice until now. I was shocked, not only that it was pink (what an odd color) but that it took me so long to notice something so close to me. It made me wonder what else I am not seeing.

What have you failed to see that was in plain sight? How are your powers of observation?

48 thoughts on “Lift Thine Eyes To The Hills”

  1. it took 45 for me to realize the true nature of the people surrounding me in my everyday world.
    i never made that an initial part of my evaluation and gave the benefit of the doubt to mankind in general.
    today i realize i had been missing it altogether in a major way
    i’m not sure i like being informed but what are you gonna do?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am always surprised when I wear something new and people actually say to me “is that new”. I don’t know if this is because I just don’t notice other peoples clothing or because I’m the opposite of a clothes horse so on the rare occasion I do have something new, it’s very obvious to people.


  3. We’ve been doing more babysitting of our grandkids than usual the last couple of weeks because their mom has been called up for jury duty. The girls were watching something from a Disney movie and I noticed that the heroine or princess in this particular movie was slightly cross-eyed. A little research reveals that a lot of the Disney animated characters are cross-eyed. Obviously, this is a deliberate device, but I haven’t been able to discover the intent behind it. There are scant references to it online and none of them seek to explain it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have noticed this. I think a slight cast to the eyes is charming. Maybe Disney has studied this, as they have been known to do, or maybe the artists think so.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. They probably have studied it. I’ve never really noticed the cross as much as how big the eyes are but I know they do this on purpose because bigeyes and little noses are more juvenile, more like babies, Theoretically more endearing. That’s why Mickey Mouse’s head has gotten rounder and rounder and his eyes bigger and bigger over the decades.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. As you say, the big eyes make characters seem more infantile, therefore more innocent. I wonder if the cross eyes make characters seem slightly more vulnerable. The more commanding and “adult” characters never have cross eyes.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. For several years, my outdoor buddy Bill had a side business taking tourists for dogsled rides near his mountain home. After one evening trip along a mountain trail, Bill’s customer was ecstatic about the experience.

    “I loved it when that mule deer stood there watching us. Then there was that elk! I didn’t expect that. My favorite, though, was seeing the eagle that seemed to lead us down the trail! What a wonderful trip!”

    Bill, who was standing on the sled runners managing the team during that ride, had not seen a deer, had not seen an elk and had not seen an eagle. The next day he visited an ophthalmologist to get fitted with prescription glasses.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I wonder if anyone else remembers when almost everything owned by the federal government was painted olive drab. Corner mailboxes were olive, and I think the mail trucks were, too. During WW2, the government got in the habit of painting everything olive and that continued to be the default color long after the war ended.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It looks like the olive drab mailboxes go even further back than WWII. Here’s what the Historian of the United States Postal Service had to say about the use of olive drab paint on mailboxes: “Green gave way to olive drab after World War I when the War Department gave the Post Office Department a vast supply of surplus olive drab paint. This became the standardized color for collection boxes and remained in use until 1955.”
          The above quote is from an article about collection box colors published in October of 2000.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. Kind a like that old movie called operation petticoat, When they only had some red and some white paint and mixed it together and ended up with a pink submarine.


  5. Rise and Miss What is Out There, Baboons,

    I feel like I missed parts of the last week. Since semi-retiring, I have been less busy, so I see more. But this last week we had two sets of company, both people we really wanted to see, and I worked. And of course, Lucky, the dog, had a urinary tract infection that came back so there was a lot of time and money spent at the veterinarian. Some other stuff, including the Trail, just passed me by.

    At night here we get a lot of javelinas and coyotes. I purposely try to miss those. Lou has doggie night duty when the javelinas are most likely to be lurking around. I have seen the javelinas twice during the day. You might want to miss them–they are quite the site. Research shows that they are a sort of prehistoric pig. They are difficult to miss in the daylight, but at night they just show up suddenly out of the dark. Lou found three lurking on a ledge the other night.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. There is a big difference between what people “see” and what they “notice.” If you take an interest in something, you are far more likely to notice it than people with equally acute vision who don’t have that special interest.

    An example would be how a trout fisherman sees a trout stream. People who never have fished will look at a stream and basically see nothing. The trout angler will notice insect activity, subtle signs of trout feeding and all the complicated ways current creates different zones in the water.

    Perhaps a simpler example would be birds. Average people walk by countless birds without seeing or hearing them. Actually, they might have heard or seen something, but their minds are not trained to take notice. Birders in the same environment will see and notice bird activity.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As Steve points out, there’s a vast difference between what you see and what you notice, or as Conan Doyle put it to Watson: “You see, but you do not observe.”

      I know that when Edith was out stalking about with her camera, she was deliberately looking for things that would get lost in the big picture for most of us. I love it when I see photos taken by photographers who have captured something that I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Sometimes they have captured something that even the photographer was not paying attention to, or even aware of, when the photo was taken.

      An example of this is a photo taken by our friend Bob. It’s a photo taken at the Mpls/StP Airport on the morning my parents were leaving to go back to Denmark after a month-long visit. My parents are at the check-in counter, and Hans and I are standing behind them, ecstatic with glee, which is clearly showing on our faces. It had been an extremely long month!

      There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that photo it seems, i.e. not until we looked at it about twenty years later. That’s when I noticed the Indian man in traditional Indian garb standing directly behind us. It’s Mouni Baba, an Indian guru of sorts, that we didn’t know at the time the photo was taken, but who years later had befriended Hans. Here’s a link to an article published upon his death almost ten years ago:

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Hi-
    I spent part of this morning trying to find a ladder. I keep an old aluminum ladder up in the balcony of a theater. I used it often up there when I’m running cables. But I can’t find it today. I have a vague memory that after the last show I put it somewhere. You know, “safe”. So no one would bother it. Wish I could remember where that is. I’m afraid it’s right under my nose. I need other people to go look because I can’t find it. I’ve looked in every room, behind every door or curtain, and even in some locked rooms just in case.

    At home it’s not unusual I can’t find something where I expect it to be. Because if you move it 6″ from where I think it is it’s gone. GONE I TELL YOU.

    “Things don’t just disappear. Something takes them.”
    -A line from a character in the play ‘Ten November’.

    A month or two, Kelly and I commented on a power pole that seemed to be really leaning. It was a metal post, not a wood one. And we thought ‘Has that always been leaning like that?’ Huh.
    I mean it’ was January, the ground was frozen, how could the post tip over like that? But it seemed odd. Oh well!
    A couple weeks ago the power company was up there. They put a guide wire on it and it’s straight again. Huh. Guess it wasn’t supposed to be leaning.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. And for me sometimes it’s the “just don’t pay attention because I don’t care issue”? Someone this morning came to my cube and said “why were you here so early?” Because they had seen my car. I cannot tell you what kind of car any single person that I work with owns. Or any single person in my neighborhood. I know that YA has a Chevy Cruz but if it were driving down the street I wouldn’t recognize it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. I know a lot of peoples vehicles too. It does help when I pull into a job I know who’s there already. I know people coming to the farm by their vehicles. If there’s a vehicle on our township road It helps to know who it is. Dropping Amelia off somewhere I know if staff is in there already or I need to wait.
      But Kelly doesn’t know anyone’s car either.

      I can’t often tell you someone’s hair color. But i notice a lot of shoes. I think that comes from my foot issues. I’ll notice how people walk.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I find it really interesting that oftentimes people can’t say with any kind of certainty whether a person they know wears glasses, and sometimes can’t remember whether or not a man has a beard or a mustache. Hairstyles fall in that category, too. On Sunday we ran into a friend at the History Theater, and we both noticed that she had changed her hair style. She had gotten a perm, but neither of us could remember what her previous hairstyle was.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. For some reason a lot of people take videos of water towers using drones and post them on YouTube. I used to live in a duplex right next to a water tower that appears in this video:


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