The Reading Garden

You can observe a lot just by looking.

Yogi Berra

The Reading Garden is one of my favorite parks. There are quotes everywhere. Carved into the walls and walks, installed on signs. Marble book spines are engraved with the titles and authors of books in remembrance of friends and family. It’s a perfect place to practice observing. If you don’t look carefully you will be sure to miss something.


It’s easy to look without really seeing. Everything is not black and white. There are many shades of gray. I remember a conversation I had with someone who had recently been to the French Quarter in New Orleans. In their opinion the whole area was dirty, noisy and unsafe. When I visited, I saw something entirely different. I loved the French Quarter. I enjoyed the culture, the music, the architecture and found people to be welcoming and ready for a good time.

In another instance, It was important to see clearly when conducting interviews for positions in the boutique I managed. Sometimes a candidate would look great on paper. The reality might be something different. If I wasn’t careful in my observation, I could end up with someone who was not right for the position. It could be an expensive lesson.

Taking things at face value can be a mistake. Whether in a park, on a vacation or at work, it’s often worth the time to take another look. You might find something important you could have missed.

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