“The Question is not What You look at but What You See”


Dear Reader:

It was Henry David Thoreau  who said: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” No truer words were ever spoken.

After my cousins left Thursday to return home, I returned to Simple to Sublime to pick up an item I had left with Samantha, the owner, until I could get back to pick it up. I parked in the back corner of the First Citizens bank parking lot (near the hedge where you can cut through and be right on Short Central… practically in front of Samantha’s shop.)

On my way back to the car I stopped dead in my tracks….there was the most beautiful mural of two birds on the side tall building of the town parking lot. It was a delight to the eyes! Where in the world had that come from?

I took a picture and as I was backing up to get the right angle I noticed another woman in a car, with the windows down, doing the same thing…taking pictures of it. Apparently I wasn’t the only one happily surprised with the mural. (We started talking  and I told her I would run back in and see if Samantha could tell me anything about the mural and come back and share the information.)

Samantha said she remembered it had something to do with Audubon and a well-known mural street artist. It had gone up several months ago.

I forwarded this information to the lady in the car and then finally introduced myself….she reciprocated….Good Grief Charlie Brown!…it was Patsy Knight. I had worked with her husband, Al, at Alston Middle School for years….sweetest man ever born I think.

I decided to come home and research the mural. Before I did that, however, I remembered reading an article awhile back that talked about  “everyday blindness”….missing what was right in front of you. That is exactly what happened to me. My cousins and I, even, walked right past the mural leaving Short Central to go eat lunch at Continental Corner and never gave this gorgeous mural a glance.

IMG_0171It made me wonder why I still feel like I have to go and do some days…so that I will feel that I have accomplished something. It is as if I think I am using up other people’s oxygen, unfairly on earth, without earning it.

Work ethics are so embedded in me that I sometimes forget that my worth has nothing to do with my work. I am getting better at this and appreciate retirement more than anything else in the world….but I still need to work on accepting me, just being, as enough. “Doing” isn’t personal worth. Taking time to stop and admire a beautiful mural, which fills me with joy, should be quite enough to make God smile.

Here is an excerpt from the Summerville Journal Scene dated July of 2015 that set the stage for the upcoming mural. (The mural went up the following month in mid-August.)

An American redstart is a little black bird, with a montage of yellow, orange and red feathers decorating its wings – and this little feathery critter could be the focal point of a mural coming to downtown Summerville. 

Michael Dawson, center director at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, is vouching for a mural to be painted on the wall of the parking garage in downtown Summerville. Conceptual drawings for the mural consist of an American redstart, and it would be featured on the Short Central side of the building, on the outer part of the stairwell facing the road.

Dawson explained the plan Monday morning at town council’s finance committee meeting. Dawson touched on Birds In Residence: Downtown Summerville (B.I.R.D.S.), a public art project involving the collaboration of the Audubon Center at Beidler Forest, Sculpture in the South and Summerville DREAM. The program is meant to educate residents and visitors on Summerville’s native birds and bring folks to check out the historic district.

The mural is the work of Roman artist Hitnes, who is traveling the eastern half of the U.S. in the footsteps of naturalist John James Audubon, painting murals as he goes.

The B.I.R.D.S. project consists of a series of 21 bird sculptures scheduled to be installed throughout the downtown area. 


So it looks like we will be privy to more art works in our beautiful little ‘town in the pines’. I can hardly wait to see the others!!

This incident just points out how “blind” we can become to a daily routine and how important it is to pause and look around each and every day….there are secret discoveries waiting.

So until tomorrow….May we slow down enough to appreciate the exquisitely detailed beauty of nature … whether on God’s canvas or man’s….

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*With a lovely (in the 70’s) week with NO RAIN predicted as March comes “marching” in….I got out the white dogwood wreaths for the two front doors, a senetti plant that loves sun and is a late winter/ early spring plant to put on the green chair. Welcome spring….a little early!


I discovered all this green leafy foliage popping up around the area where I planted the daffodil bulbs and wasn’t sure what it was. So I called Dr. Morning Glory (she makes house calls)  to come check it out….we all know how hard it is to get a “doctor” to make a house call.


Dr. Morning Glory said that she believes the green sprouts emerging aren’t daffodils but other bulbs like Irises….the ones Harriett gave me long ago.

But after much “probing” Dr. Morning Glory (a.k.a Anne) discovered that the recently planted daffodil bulbs are trying to make their debut this spring.

IMG_0176 (2)IMG_0177Life is always victorious!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “The Question is not What You look at but What You See”

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Becky thanks for the information. We had seen and admired the mural. Did the guy paint it himself? I would love to watch the progress.


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Yes he did apparently….they closed down Short Central for two days…before that he had a large canvas sketch of what it would look like posted beside the garage….what a coup for Summerville….I just love it! So glad we were able to persuade him to stay a little longer in the Charleston area before following his dream of re-tracing Audubon’s journey through America.


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