Seeing It All
There are many lessons to be learned by Annie Dillard’s writing, especially her piece, “Seeing.” Annie Dillard nose dives into her opinions on this subject with personification and depth while still keeping the message clear. Most of her advice rotates around the way we see the world. “Seeing” has quite a few lessons to teach the college student looking for success. Annie Dillard suggests being aware of your surroundings and paying attention because otherwise you could miss something incredibly important or even brilliant. In a story she tells from her childhood she writes, “If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water, and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way (Page 5)?” Dillard uses this image to explain why she would get so disappointed when not a single adult would attempt to find the penny. Every adult that passed arrogantly by, missed the sight of the muskrat kit. Were they really all too busy and well off to take the time to pick up a penny? If you look for the beauty, you will find it.
Often times, you may get so caught up in your busy, fast moving life. If you enjoy the little things, it will be a more rewarding way of living your life and you will notice beauty in places you weren’t expecting it. Here on the Penn State Harrisburg campus, there is a lot of beauty. As you walk around and pay attention, you will notice the Nittany Lion statue, the water fountain that lights up at night, the beautiful landscaping, and the crisscross paths leading you to the doors of Olmstead. If you get even more specific, you can notice the way the sidewalk gravel sticks to your shoes. There are so many sights to take in, so many smells, and so much commotion. It’s easy to get lost in all of it. Often times as I’m walking to class, I tend to peek at the same things every day. As I walk from my apartment to school I pass some soccer fields. For some reason I direct my glance towards the posts of the soccer nets. I couldn’t even tell you what was around there other than the big white posts.
Also, keep your eyes open to what’s going on around campus. Many times there will be signs on the doors and fliers in the hallways informing you of upcoming activities and even job opportunities. Most colleges have a student activities center, there they have sign-up sheets for entertaining student trips. Many colleges have a variety of free events and activities. There are so many clubs and organizations to become a part of. The more you are involved in, the better your college experience will be. You will also be able to connect to more people. Paying attention and noticing those things that can actually improve the quality of your life.
Dillard’s most obvious point is to teacher her readers the difference between the artificial and the natural obvious. She writes, “As soon as you can forget the natural obvious and construct an artificial obvious, then you too will see a deer (Page 7).” The artificial obvious is all about looking past what is personally obvious and viewing what is truly being seen. It’s about seeing the unexpected as opposed to the expected. The natural obvious is what people view right away because of their thought process. For example, Annie was looking for a frog that was nearby. She was told it was green and in her mind she was picturing a completely green frog. She didn’t spot it right away because it was actually the color of wet bark. It’s all too easy to make presumptions of most things and it makes it very difficult to see things for what they actually are. Annie Dillard points out that the artificial obvious is very hard to perceive. “But I can’t go out and try to see this way. I’ll fail, I’ll go mad. All I can do is try to gag the commentator; to hush the noise of useless interior babble…