When I was younger, I loved reading Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, just loved it. And even at my advanced age—much older than Mr. Watterson when he created these terrific takes on society—I continue to enjoy it. Mine own children have their own favorite comics, but every once in a while, I like to share these treasures, Calvin and Hobbes, with them, because these two inseparable friends have the right perspective on life.
As I reread each one these panels, I realize that Calvin is correct: there is treasure everywhere, but you need to keep open your eyes, to listen intently with your ears, in order to see and to hear treasure everywhere that you go. But it takes seeing and listening carefully for treasure to be appreciated truly.
At a school where I worked, I was intimately involved in remediating a field that was once a trash heap for the nearby industrial businesses. As the crews worked to turn the field from a trash receptacle into a beautiful playground, the workers entered my office with an assortment of bottles unearthed during the process: a cough syrup bottle, a Pawtucket Bottling Company bottle, a fat blue bottle. Each one had once been in use, but was used up, disregarded, buried for decades, and then rediscovered. And just like the dirty rocks, the weird rood, and the disgusting grubs that Calvin discovers, the beautiful, ancient bottles from a nearby distant past fascinated me, as if I had discovered Blackbeard’s treasure. There is treasure everywhere, but it takes a certain perspective to see it.
Perhaps the most telling panel from Watterson’s gem, understandably, is the last one. Hobbes responses to Calvin’s litany is one of great surprise and joy—on your first try? And it is that kind of wonder and joy that I hope to take into each aspect of my life. There is treasure everywhere, and I need to see that, respect that, and enjoy that. On another wordpress.com website that hyped the recent movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Italicizing the movie, not the short story), I found this quotation: “Always find joy in the ordinary, because you never know when you are missing something truly extraordinary.” Calvin and Hobbes understand and embrace that truth, as the rest of us should as well.