WAT’S UP – Adam Sawatsky

Expect the unexpected

After the seagull flew past, I actually heard a “splat.” Its gooey gift plummeted through the air with a “ssssss” and made contact all over me with a “plat.”

My initial reaction was disgust and annoyance. Until I remembered advice from the Executive Director of the Vancouver Island School of Art.

Wendy Welch had suggested that my walk to work be, “a time to use your imagination and engage in reverie.” Before the avian offering, instead of walking in wonder, I was checking emails.

Welch’s journey to her job focuses on “things that might be different from the last time I walked.” She notices the casually creative: the way fallen pinecones arrange themselves on the ground, or the patterns that remain on pavement after wet leaves blow away. Even litter will prompt her to imagine the story that led to a coffee cup being discarded.

Welch says a thoughtful commute begins with three steps:

• Take a breath (“so deep you can taste the salt in the air”).

• Keep your head up.

• Observe.

Walking thoughtfully wouldn’t have stopped that seagull, but my reaction to it may have changed.

Welch says being attentive not only makes your life more interesting, but it also reminds you to appreciate the possibilities of the unexpected.

Whether you’re walking to work or beginning a creative process, “you’re always taking a risk that things might not turn out. But you need to go on.”

Once, she accidentally spilled something on her artwork. Instead of getting frustrated and stopping the process, she worked with the mistake. It took her in an unexpected direction and resulted in a more creative final product.

Now I see that bird bombing as a catalyst for turning the boring into the bountiful. My walk from the parking lot has been transformed from a series of thoughtless steps into a daily opportunity to experience an ever-changing collection of colours, sounds and smells.

Adam Sawatsky reports on arts & lifestyle weekdays

on CTV News Vancouver Island with Hudson Mack.

On weekends he hosts Eye on the Arts on CFAX 1070.

 

 

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