I'm going to just keep going with this "Things You See While Walking" series. Above are some maple blossoms hanging next to the Argonne Bridge that I encountered on my way to work. The premise is that when you walk instead of drive for transportation there is a world of beauty and intrigue that becomes available to you.
I picked up on this when I was in Thailand and I ventured out from the residence we were staying at with my camera in hand and walked around the taking pictures and looking for the beauty in the place. I returned to our host's house, and showed him my pictures, and he remarked that you should take your pictures of a place soon after you move there, because it will all quickly become veiled in the shroud of familiarity. It was hard for him to see the beauty with familiar eyes, that for me was more obvious because it was so new and strange. I wondered if there might be all kinds of beauty right under my nose in my own neighborhood in Spokane that I was missing because I assumed I already had seen it all.
The monastic communities recognized this reality when they practiced what they called "stability", or staying in one place for life. Instead of moving from place to place, they believed that there are experiences in life and vistas of faith that only opened up to you when you stick around for awhile in one place among one group of people. It's something different than the first blush of new encounters. It's something that only becomes available to you after the superficial shine of newness has worn off and you learn to pay attention in the midst of the rhythms of familiarity.