The Casual Observer

“The Casual Observer simply turned up one day from Nowhere in Particular.”

The Casual Observer is a book by Elizabeth Whitson, that my mother gave to me before going on a trip I believe. I might be remembering that incorrectly. I know my mother gave me the book though, and she did often give me tiny presents to entertain myself with before she went somewhere. For example, she gave me a Tarot deck before going to the UK. When she returned from that trip I got a Scritti Politti album I had been asking for. I still have the Tarot cards, and the book, but the album is lost forever.

The story of the Casual Observer is centered around a small animal community of a cat, a mouse, a rabbit, and a raccoon who come across the Casual Observer in a field one day. She was observing a colony of ants when they found her, but none of the animals could figure out who she was, nor could they understand how she came to be there. “Who’s that in the hat?” is asked a few times on the first few pages of the book.

It’s actually a charming story, and one that stuck with me over time. There are very few possessions I took with me when I left the U.S. – three suitcases to be exact. This book is one of the items I brought with me. Even if I had brought everything I owned with me, this is the only thing from my childhood that I still possess. Well, this book and a very elaborate Bible with a cover carved out of olive tree wood, everything else seems lost.

I suppose the significance to this book now, in my adult life, is that it serves as a reminder to where I came from and who I am. This blog is meant to be a snippet of the things I come across and what I have observed about the world I live in, which I am lucky to say, includes a good many places. There’s no great purpose other than that.

So, on to observing.

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