Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Friday, May 23, 2014

Seeing with New Eyes


I rode my motorcycle to Ventura today,
seeing Kern County more sharply,
through the eyes and words of a poet.
Sat up straighter in the saddle
so I could observe it all.
It’s not unusual to go about our busy lives, looking but not seeing. Objects that are a part of our landscape become all too familiar and fade into the background, become invisible. Wallpaper, pieces of decor, the front door, people’s faces, a route that we travel. It may be days or weeks before we notice changes. 

What does it take to bring about awareness? For me, it was Bakersfield poet Don Thompson’s book-length narrative poem, Local Color, in which he shares his love of the southern San Joaquin Valley. Kern County in particular. Stories of real and imaginary people show up on the pages as he celebrates where we live and provides us with a greater sense of place. 

With Don’s poem and his voice resounding in my head, I took off on Big Red for a ride to Ventura. At Wheeler Ridge, I looked for evidence of the poppies, but it’s late in the spring, and they are, as Don put it, “. . . scraped from the land now . . .”.

I noticed the changes at General Edward Beale’s Tejon Ranch. Once cattle land, the buzz and whirr of construction replace the gentle sounds of the herds.  Coming Soon! an outlet mall!

Once over the Grapevine, in my mind’s eye, I could see Christo’s bright yellow umbrellas sprinkled on the hillsides. 

Recognition clicked as I approached the road sign for Lebec, the little town over the Grapevine, named for local legend, Peter Lebeck. Though I’d passed this way hundreds of times, and wondered about what ‘Lebec’ represented (on the days I was paying attention), Don’s poem brought it to life.

We talk about being ‘in the moment.’ Sometimes it takes a new awareness or a poetic reminder pushing us to see the world before us, compelling us to view it afresh.  Proust was correct, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

~ xoA ~


  1. Annis,

    I also enjoyed listening to Don read from his book. It brought back memories of my youth in Bakersfield.

    Sometimes the things we take for granted become alive again when viewed through another's eyes.

    I'm glad we had a chance to see our valley in a fresh, new way.

    1. You know, Joan, I think the fresh look is what happens to people who are around young children. Every thing is new to them so the adults get to re-experience life through their children and grand children's eyes.

      Nice that Don could take you down Memory Lane. Thanks for writing and sharing. xoA

  2. Groan, a new outlet mall. I hate shopping center and stay away from them as much as humanly possible. I like small local shops, mom and pop stores vs big chains etc. Getting harder and harder though to shop in them. Thanks for swinging by, it's been so long since I've heard from you. Spain...oh you're truly going to love it. I've blogged the whole month of May about it, almost everyday and still haven't blogged about everything we did, ate or went. Do hope you'll spend some time looking around at my a-z in May. Sing out if you have any questions about Spain. So far, where and when are you going. Love the picture and the feel of the poem. Nice perspective about seeing with new eyes. I walk alot and often see things I don't see when I've driven by previously.

    1. Sandy, I have your Spain blogs on my radar and will read carefully. I'll be sure to seek you out if I have questions. Also sent the link to my daughter, a niece, and a friend, all three of whom have traveled to Spain in the last year or so. Thought they would enjoy reminiscing or finding someplace new to put on their "next time" lists.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I'm glad you liked the poem. It was one of those things that surfaced first as a post on the Writers of Kern FB page. Then, I recognized, "hey it's a poem!" xoA

  3. What a lovely nudge to be more present and look at what's right in front of us. At this time of year, I get outside more and being the garden puts me into the moment. Hiking puts me into the moment. And then there's just sitting instead of rushing off to the next thing. Our culture doesn't encourage sitting as much as it should. Thanks for this lovely post and have a wonderful weekend, Annis.

    1. Kathleen, thanks for writing and sharing how you get yourself into the moment. I'm not a gardener, but as a hiker and biker, I am right there, alert, not thinking about anything else.

      A dear friend mentioned recently that she no longer wants to rush from thing to thing, not enjoying or being fully present because she's thinking about what's next. Sitting is a good antidote for that, I think.

      You take care, and have a great weekend, yourself. xoA

  4. Hi Annis, Thanks for the reminder for being present.

    I hopped over to your poetry page to see what you're up to these days and discovered there wasn't anything new since my guest post on your blog.

    Surprised you didn't take part in April's poetry challenge. Hope all is well with you. Oh and I am (not so patiently) waiting for the books to arrive, can't hardly wait!

    Morgan Dragonwillow

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Morgan. And for the poetry nudge, too. I have some things percolating but also have been spending time reading and learning the work of other poets. xoA

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.