pattern recognition

“So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” - Brenda Ueland

My colleague Simon and I slipped out for coffee the other day.

Heading out the back door, we nearly tripped over a tropical plant sticking out of a plastic bag.

Who would throw out that nice plant? I wondered to myself. Did someone get fired? Is it dead? Would it fit in my car? I should adopt that plant, no, wait, I kill houseplants. Maybe it’s still alive. I don’t want it, but it’ll die out here . . .

While I was running down this maternal track, Simon whipped out his camera phone.

“What a great shot,” he said.

He crouched down and snapped a picture.

“What do you like about it?” I asked.

“The shapes. Interesting lines.”


Some people walk around with eyes for form, recognizing art in the trees, in the sky, in the trash. Simon’s like that. He’s one of the most creative people I know.

I don’t see shapes, but I hear things. Useless, moodling things. I can alert you to the presence of a yellow-shafted flicker within a half mile radius. I can pluck a high A-flat out of thin air and plop it in your lap. I hear a kind of swishy music in radio emissions from Saturn.

Maybe you will, too.