What do you see? Powers of Observation

I’ve always noticed details in the world around me. I have a memory of a morning in junior high school (we did not call it middle school). It might have been English class. The teacher came in and said something then left the classroom. She returned pretty quickly and asked us if we noticed anything different … I did. I was the only on to report that she had taken off her scarf. The point of the brief exercise had something to do with powers of observation.

I do enjoy seeing details in the world around me as well as pretty obvious things. It was difficult to miss these additions to our pedestrian mall over the past few months.

The owner of the Italian café is enamored with vintage vehicles and one day this fire engien showed up on the sidewalk. Everyone passing by loved it.

oodles of bubbles

Then there was the time (actually two times) when someone from Segafredo added bubbles to the fountain in its midst (and a float!). What fun!

Two steps from the café this giant sculpture was installed by the Business District.

graffiti care of local artist, Atomic

Sneaker Impact” (https://www.sneakerimpact.com/) is supposed to impart the basic principles of sustainability: maintaining a balance between nature, healthy communities, and economic vitality. They support recycling reusable sneakers to small markets in developing countries. I wonder if their progress is tracked or the sneakers go the way of many used goods sent abroad – recycled into landfills (https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/secondhand-fashion-is-it-really-good-for-africa).

Then there are manhole covers – an underfoot, underused palette for art. The City of Miami cover sports a palm tree, ubiquitous all over the county.

Miami Beach’s covers pay homage to the city’s trademark Art Deco architecture. Designed by California landscape architect Garren Owens, they feature the ever present sun and sea topped by the frozen fountain motif.  

While driving in town with Constant Companion, I spotted this imaginative reimagining of a mundane street sign. It brought a smile to our faces! I hope others have noticed it.

The other day, Daughter and I were stopped in traffic. A Cooper Coachman ahead of us had its taillights on, it had been raining. Unfortunately, we were not quick enough to capture an illuminated photo with the lights on. In an instant I was taken to the amazing art of the First Peoples of the Northwest Coast. There in the taillight was Raven! See if you can see it, too.

Like the characteristic imagery created by the peoples in that region, the taillight featured a formline outlining the subject in which ovoid shapes were used to form figures in the outline.

This postage stamp was created by Tlingit/Athabascan artist Rico Worl

Animal designs consist of a circular eyeball (look on the right side) with a fine line representing the eyelid, both placed in a larger ovoid representing the eye socket. Raven’s beak tapers to the left of his eye.

Raven by Ray Young

I’ve got more observations, especially amazing details built into our local architecture. But that’s for another day.

Take some time and look around to see what you might see using powers of observation.


  1. This was lovely, thank you. Good to slow down to see the myriad curiosities around us, we should practice more. Loved the Raven.


  2. Astonish-by the power of your observing mind…For now own I will pay more attention to my surrounding, I will also take longer walks more frequently. Love and gratitude


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