Tag Archives: curiosity

Curiosity, Hat and Blisters

IMG_0748Tuesday was so beautiful that there was no way I wasn’t gonna take a walk by the pier. Never mind the fact that I had just come out of morning Bible study and wasn’t wearing the best walking shoes.

But I was close to the bay and I sure didn’t want to drive all the way back home to retrieve my walking shoes. What could a mile-plus-something do to my feet?

I parked, stuffed my ID and credit card in one pocket and my key fob in the other front pocket. Oh, and I slid my iPhone in the same pocket with my two IDs.

Sunlight sparkled on the waters of the bay. Diving birds congregated around the docks, and seagulls quarreled overhead. It seemed as if the entire population of Bellingham had stepped out of the dark into a world of blossoms, blue skies, breezes, and babies in strollers.

I overtook an elderly man going in the same direction. He had on the strangest hat, but I’m a bit nearsighted and couldn’t determine what was on his head. There were small, round, coiled things on his hat. What? Rocks, bird nests, coils of rope? And something perched on the front of the brim.

I couldn’t get close enough to clearly see that hat. Bruce would have admonished me to just leave it alone. But he wasn’t around, and I wanted to satisfy my curiosity.

How to do that without the man thinking I was about to assault him?

I know, I’ll get on ahead of the man, whip out my camera, put it on zoom, and wait. Then, when the old man goes by I can get a  close-up photo.

I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket and got ready. Just after he passed, I got the shot.


Turtles. Lots and lots of cute, fake baby turtles glued onto his hat. A couple of barnacles and seashells. And on the front, two fake sea-faring birds. Truly, the man was a walking travel advertisement for ocean-front natural delights.

Even though my feet were getting rubbed raw by my inappropriate footwear, I was still feeling satisfied…and rather clever about my interesting photo. But by the time I reached my favorite coffee spot my feet felt downright unpleasant. An iced coffee and a snack and a comfy seat to watch people would be just the ticket. About to order, I reached into my pocket. My ID! My ID was gone. No! Where did it fall out?

I am so gonna pay for this tonight, I thought as I walked out of the shop and began to re-trace my steps. The pain in my feet sent clear signals to my eyes, which teared up in response. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

A mile back to the spot where my ID must have fallen out: the moment when I whipped out my cell phone for my clever shot of the old man’s hat.

There sat my Driver’s License on the sidewalk. Exactly where my spy activity had transpired.

I stuffed it back inside my pocket, then “ouched” that same mile in reverse, back to my car.

My question: was the photo worth the nickel-sized blisters on the ball of my foot? And an evening of foot-soaking, and three days of bandages and no walking on the pier?

Some would say, “Art is always worth pain.”

Others would say, “You got what you deserved.”

I say, “Curiosity satisfied=90% of life.







Be Curious

Seems like nowadays lots of people aren’t curious about their neighbors, their coworkers, new people at church.

Which is too bad because if you’re not curious, you miss out on making a potential friend.  Curiosity has gotten a bad rap of late. Most people now link curiosity with being nosy.

i don’t see it like that. My curiosity is part of my drive to know people and to form connections, maybe even a new friendship.

My husband and I made some good friends a few years ago just because we asked some questions. It went like this:

During the greet time at our church, I happened to notice a couple I’d never met.

“Hi, my name’s Dena. We moved to Colorado last year.”

“Nice to meet you,” the man said. “I’m Doug, and this is my wife, Mia.”

We shook hands. (it could have ended right there. I’m glad to say, it didn’t.)

“Where did you move from?” Doug asked.

“Most recently from Southern California, but we’ve lived in lots of different states.”

Mia said, “Us, too. We’re originally from Ohio.”

“Ohio! I went to school in Ohio.”

Doug perked up. “Really? What college?

“Oberlin. I went to the conservatory of music there. Have you heard of it?”

“Of course,” Doug said. “My brother went to Oberlin, but that was probably way before your time.”

Doug appeared to be around my age, so I asked, “When did your brother attend?”

“He went during the seventies.”

“That’s when I went!”

“Oh,” Doug sounded doubtful, “he went to the college. Competed on the swim team. I doubt you’d have met him.”

A spooky but exciting feeling started to zip around my stomach.”Now, this is really weird. I dated someone on the swim team, so maybe I met your brother.”

“His name is Bill.”

“Bill! I knew Bill. Tall, lean, long hair, did the distance races.”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

Doug and Mia and I started laughing .

i shook my head. “This is amazing.”

We finished our conversation, ending with updated news of Doug’s brother, Bill. Then we made plans to meet for dinner the following week. Doug and Mia turned out to be wonderful people and good friends.

It would have been easy to have simply said, “Hi, nice to meet you,” and have sat down again to wait for the sermon to begin.

But if we’d done that, we would have missed out on a truly fun and surprising conversation.

And a lovely friendship where both couples have enriched each other.

Nowadays, whenever I meet someone new, I try to imprint their voices and faces in my mind. Who knows? This new acquaintance might someday become my long-time, loyal friend.

“My father used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.” (Lee Iacocca)

Animals and Good Writing

I lived for seven years way up in the mountains outside Estes Park, Colorado.

While I honed my craft as a writer I also spent lots of time observing the wildlife outside my window.

Animals display many wonderful qualities that we humans—particularly writers—should emulate. They’re:

  1. curious
  2. persistent
  3. hard workers
  4. gifted
  5. voracious
  6.  fearless

Deer are curious. They want to know if another animal, or another grove of trees, or another meadow is safe. They cautiously approach new areas, but always with the intense focus of an animal that wants to learn something new.

Deer like to come up to our windows and peep through at the strange human animals inside. They quickly learn which houses contain friendly humans, or not-so-friendly humans with noisy dogs.

Writers should be boundlessly curious about their world, too. We need to keep learning every day. We should do things like:

visit museums,

walk places and observe people,


join organizations,

read books that you don’t usually read,

take a road trip, a cruise, a rafting trip,

host missionaries at your house,

keep a journal,

listen to other writers.

Our environment is constantly changing. Just like the deer, we writers 7-20-11 005need to be curious.