Medellín, Colombia

May 19, 2019

On Looking Up

Years ago, I spent a short time training in ninjutsu.

One day, the instructor spent an entire lesson extolling the importance of looking up - and noting that in general, people never do. He challenged us to look up over the next week, and count the number of people and surprising things we found just by tilting our heads back and eyes skyward.

A week later, my count was in the 200's, and I was stunned. And even as the years have spread between that moment and me, the insight has stuck with me. Whether I'm a cafe or a bus, a city or a forest, a small voice in my head always says, "Look up. Don't miss it."

Sometimes I get to see the intricate inner workings of a living building. Sometimes it's I-wonder-if-that's-ever-been-cleaned grossness. Sometimes, something - a person, squirrel, a bird - looking down, watching me.

Here in Medellín, when I look up - I get rewarded.

I get to see a family of peregrine falcons swoop and play and cry from rooftop to rooftop. (See the pigeons and swallows hide for cover when they come around.)

See bats - big as your head - arcing for a little dinner just past sunset every night.

See the sky turn, the stars roll, the storms walk across the valley.

Even explosions.

A couple years ago, I was lucky enough to be on a rooftop here as the clock hit midnight on New Year's. On cue, across the entire valley and its walls, fireworks erupted. First a rainbow, electric. Then the echoes of a new year, rolling across the city. I'll get old and senile someday - but I think that scene will stick with me.

I wonder, what do you see, looking up, right now?

Have a wonderful week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was from way up - space! See, I discovered that the international space station has a live stream of earth that you can tune into at any time. And it blew my mind. :)

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