The art of seeing things for the first time

The art of seeing things for the first time

 When I was seven, my family moved to a house on a ravine. The valley presented endless opportunities to explore the forests and fields that surrounded the slow and winding Humber River; Nature was our backyard.

Now, we live five minutes away from similar surroundings. The creek and trees look the same. Even the smells are the same.

Sam and Charlie

When our boys were small, we would go on hikes along the riverbed, seeing how far we could go before we were stopped by the terrain. This would be where we would have a snack break and discuss the interesting things we had seen and challenges we had overcome. Everything was important.


Charlie, now almost 16, recently has taken a renewed interest in exploring the river. This week, he asked if I wanted to join him on his trek to see how far he could go. 

I jumped at the chance to spend time with him and retrace the steps we had laid many years ago. 

What surprised me was Charlie’s fascination with everything – fossils, rock paths across the water, plastic bottles, even a steep rock face that he felt needed to be climbed. Everything was still important.

I noticed Charlie was approaching the hike differently than me. He was experiencing things as if he was seeing them for the first time, present in the moment, taking things in and adapting his course based on what he saw. I was focused on finding the easiest path.

Before long, I found myself taking on Charlie’s behaviours. I too broadened my line of sight. I was present, active and engrossed in the moment. It felt great to be alive.

If Charlie hadn’t been with me, I wouldn’t have walked across the riverbed, swung on tree branches, got entangled in thorn bushes or climbed steep cliffs. I would have had an easy walk along the shortest route to my destination. 

How many times in our lives do we process a task instead of experiencing it? Completion is the goal and taking the easiest approach is the best way to achieve it. What do we miss along the way and how does that affect our outcomes?

I am meeting a new client on Monday. My line of sight will be broadened by everything they see and where they are going. Everything will be important.



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