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Do you do windows?

My mom had a thing about washing windows. I can still see her on an overcast Florida day, in Bermuda shorts, clinging to the step stool with her toes, paper towels caught randomly in the bushes.  She swore she hated doing it but was always so proud when it was done. Everybody had to come look. And “ooh” and “ahh”. (Noticing smudges was not considered helpful!)

Perhaps this is a particularly active pollen season in Georgia. The flourescent pea green pollen is fading to more of a yellow-beige but it just keeps falling. And swirling. And drifting. It’s everywhere.

I sit and look out the front window to my garden and I feel like I’m looking at the world through a paste of pollen. Long experience suggests that there’s no sense washing windows yet. You just have to wait until it’s done. Though, while it’s here, it’s reminding me of all the things I’ve learned about the filters through which we see the world.

Sometimes it takes a different view entirely to remind us that we all have filters. Memories. Beliefs. Values. Language. Decisions. And all those filters are busy, without any effort on our part, choosing what gets into our awareness and what does not.

Last week, a friend of mine was back visiting family in rural East Tennessee. Part of the purpose for the trip was to help out with spring plants in the lovely greenhouse pictured above. On the day I received several of her pictures, I looked at the brilliant colors and lush greenery. Then I looked out my pollen crusted window to a drab, urban Atlanta day.

In contrast to the photograph, my garden looked drab as well. If I look beyond my filters, my roses really are lovely right now, though it takes conscious awareness to look beyond the filters.

Which might cause us to wonder which filters we’ve come to rely on. Which ones work for us by shielding us from new information that might cause us to see or do things differently? Which would, predictably, shield us from some stretching in our lives?

It’s well worth the wondering.

Today, though, my flower-whispering, artistic friend is back in town. On her way home, as a matter of fact, from one of the new-glasses-fast places. Dusting off a few more filters, in a sense.

We’ve all been there!

Do you have to take your glasses off to read your cell phone? Or the label on a package?

Do you make navigational decisions based on guessing how many words are on the street sign, only able to “read” the ones you already know?

Me, too. In fact, I need to visit the new-glasses-not-quite-so-fast place. (Mine are complicated.) Thanks to my friend, I’m feeling inspired.

Yes, it’s a pain. I’ve come to believe, though, in being as conscious as possible of my filters. I have more choices that way.

As another friend of mine used to say, we can’t successfully filter the world through an iron skillet!

What about you?

The flowers really are awesome.

(Though I’m still waiting until after pollen season to deal with washing windows!)

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