31 Days of Paying Attention — Day Eleven


That Catholic retreat center I visited in southern California had several lovely sets of stairs hidden here and there. This one led up to a central fountain area, with benches and small grassy areas. I am drawn to tiles of all kinds, and find the repeating — though slightly different — pattern on these steps restful and lovely to look at. Yellow, blue, white, terra cotta offer a soft palette to the eye. Repeated geometric patterns are also soothing, lovely without being intrusive in any way. 

I focussed my camera on the steps alone this year, trying to pay more attention than usual to the craftsmanship, the subtle gradations in color, evidences of wear and tear. Our small group of spiritual directors was last in this place about 18 months ago, and on that trip I took these pictures. Hunting for them as I began to lay out this month’s posts, I remembered more clearly the setting for the stairs I focussed on this year. Can you see how lovely it all looks?


As we reflected a few days ago, sometimes you need to change your perspective, your point of view, in order to see something new. So I offer these earlier photos as a way to underscore that powerful truth. The steps alone are intriguing, colorful, beautifully crafted. But seen in their larger setting? They become spectacular, beckoning the visitor to climb, climb, climb.


And if you choose to climb, this restful spot awaits. A curving bench, under the hanging branches of bright green tree.


And the refreshing music of water gently dropping into a pond.  

Paying attention can lead us in so much beauty!

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  1. Oh, those tiles are absolutely gorgeous, Diana. I love their intricate detail, something one might miss if not paying attention.

  2. Elaine Byer Reed says

    I really like what you have said these last couple of days about change in perspective, Diana. It is so true and I am just beginning to learn it. In a book about finding lost items it was suggested that you change your viewpoint, and it often works, even if it is just a change in physical position (lol)–or like thinking outside of the box. The rock with the hole inside was such a beautiful example. Once again, stopping and taking time.

  3. Margie Bicknell says

    Sometimes the journey is hard and flat and the end of the line leads to exhaustion. And then there is Christ. Your pictures of the steps, the bench, and the filigree of the fountain’s water drops reminded me of Christ. As we run our race before all the witnesses who have run before us, I am reminded again and again, that the end of the race leads to Christ, and we are all winners, for Christ is our goal. He is our redeeming witness, walking, running, meandering with us. And the bench, the space to sit with Him, the Water of Life, and be, just be in the presence of the I AM…..