Oh, Look At The Clouds – Making The Ordinary Extraordinary


To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. – Elliott Erwitt

Last week I was walking around downtown Toronto with a friend.

Suddenly, I felt a sense of wonder.

I looked up at the sky and the clouds just seem so high – I felt so small. It wasn’t an extraordinary moment in an extraordinary place, although, I would consider now that every moment in my life nowadays is laced with that extra something and Toronto is a very special indeed.
But if you looked at it with a logical lens, it shouldn’t be considered an extraordinary moment.

While I was being extraordinarily engaged and effervescent about these clouds, a couple of passing pedestrians. They happened to hear me and looked up to see.

To me, through my eyes, these clouds seemed out of this world. I can still see them as I write these words on my laptop while sitting in the subway train.

But to them, they looked up, saw nothing amazing, just a few puffs of white clouds against a blue background. They kept on walking, wondering at the crazy people they encounter on the streets of Toronto.

Afterwards at home, I had a chance to look back upon this moment and think about it.

I used to be one of those people.

That person who is impressed by nothing. Everything was ordinary around me. I had to leave the country and go to exotic destinations to ever feel a sense of wonder, and even then, I realize now, I was kind of jaded and cynical about the beautiful spots I visited. Appreciation of the moment wasn’t really high on my list.

This year something changed.

I have switched my attention over to the ordinary.

I am not always seeking that next high, that next extraordinary something. I realize that every moment is extraordinary in the sense that I’m alive, I am here, and I am aware! Just the fact that I can be here on this planet for the next however-many years is a miracle.

I shouldn’t have to be on Mount Kilimanjaro in order to be able to say that I am alive.

I should be able to say it even while I am chopping vegetables in an ordinary kitchen in ordinary Toronto.

Or as I said in earlier post, sitting on the toilet contemplating the colours on my shower curtains.

While we are seeking those extraordinary moments, we forget that life is lived in these everyday moments.

If we are always seeking those moments, we will forget to live in these ordinary moments. We will forget that we are only really ever alive in the present moment. We are only alive right now, in this moment, and that’s all. Nothing else really matters, despite what we think.

Nothing else can matter, because it really doesn’t exist right now.

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3 thoughts on “Oh, Look At The Clouds – Making The Ordinary Extraordinary

  1. Love, love this post! So many people live for the future, insert extraordinary trip here, and they forget to enjoy what is around them at this very moment. Because of yoga I am working toward becoming more present in the moment, in my daily life. When I do, I find the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

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