Look up!

A couple years back, a few friends and I went to Nuit Blanche to see art installations scattered through downtown Toronto and, in the process, we got a reality check about life.

As we are strolling through downtown, a friend says, “I never look up.”

At that statement, we all look up, observing buildings and structures we have never noticed before that moment.

Mind you, we have all been to that part of downtown Toronto plenty of times. We have walked past that same street time and time again. Yet, it wasn’t until the night of Nuit Blanche, at approximately 5am, slightly tipsy and a bit delirious from lack of sleep, that we realized we don’t look up enough.

Since we were looking for art that night, we actually paid attention to our surroundings. We looked up and around. Art was everywhere.


There are plenty of explanations for why we don’t look up enough, if ever.

In part, we can blame the proliferation of our smartphone devices. We can also put the blame on our ever-so-busy culture that has us hurrying from place to place, with no time or energy to take in our surrounds.

Regardless of the causes, it is amazing what we can notice when we pay attention to our surroundings; when we look up and around. The mundane becomes the most entrancing. Beauty is everywhere.

So, look up!

At trees, tall buildings, the sky, the clouds, bird mobs, a plastic bag floating aimlessly in the air. It is far more interesting than any memes or recycled Tik Tok videos on your social media feed. I promise.

Look up, and look around, to find out.

Until next time. . .

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Published by Mehret Biruk

(re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world.