Pulitzer prizewinner and former poet laureate Ted Kooser once wrote these lines:
If you can awaken
inside the familiar
and discover it strange,
you need never leave home.
He spoke about these words before an overflowing crowd at the Library of Congress a few years ago. "This four-line poem is a kind of credo for me," he said. "In short, we have beauty all about us, if we take the time to pay attention to it. Reinhold Marxhausen knew about paying attention; George Ault knew it. Pablo Neruda wrote dozens of remarkable poems about common things. Thousands of poets and painters have learned to pay attention like this. We honor the ordinary by giving it our attention. We enshrine the ordinary in our art. Is there anything really ordinary, I wonder?"
I've been thinking a lot about paying attention to the beauty of commonplace things. It's easy to blissfully sigh at a gorgeous bit of architecture or a breathtaking view. But it takes a little more than casual observation to notice everyday loveliness --the sweet shadow and texture of something mundane.
Like a trash dumpster surrounded on three sides by concrete walls.
Maybe I'm crazy -- but there, in a wash of afternoon light, I think it's just beautiful.