Still Learning To See

Peeling potatoes or hiking?

As I was peeling potatoes tonight for dinner, I laughed out loud remembering a sentence from Coming into the Country by John McPhee, his remarkable story of Alaska from the 1970s. He says “Generally speaking, if I had a choice between hiking and peeling potatoes, I would peel the potatoes.”

This guy has long been a hero of mine both for how he writes and what he writes. His influence on environmentalism, although I would not necessarily characterize him as an environmentalist, has been huge and very positive. I admire him for that.

As I’m peeling potatoes tonight I realize how easy it is to infuse my own bias into life. I’d always pictured McPhee as an inveterate hiker, someone who not only loves to hike anywhere but who actually had. Not so!

It is good to laugh at myself once in a while! I can get so serious about life. Life just is what it is, whether I’m hiking or peeling potatoes. That’s all and that’s enough.

I find the beauty of simple proportions both in nature and in some of the work of humans like this staircase in my sister's house.

This entry was published on January 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm. It’s filed under Photograph and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Peeling potatoes or hiking?

  1. marti snell on said:

    John
    I am having fun recognizing some of your photos! You are giving so much with this blog
    Marti

  2. Thanks. I’m having fun writing and making the photographs! I’ve always loved the shapes of that staircase especially in the morning light.

  3. It comes as no surprise that you are a fan of McPhee. There seems to be an unusually high level of overlap between our book shelves!

    Your pictures are well worth seeing, and your thoughts are always worth hearing. Please keep sharing.

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