Tom Hennen wrote about the differences that can fill our senses each day. Sometimes, humans do not notice what is different as differences can hide in nooks and crannies of our daily lives. When we do sense the differences, they can excite our senses and call us to take care around them. In their daily existences, these things are “royalty in their own country.”
The words thing and objects used in the poem can be replaced by persons and subjects. How many people do we miss and avoid, because they look, speak, and act differently? There is a strangeness in the royalty of the other that calls upon us to question not them, but our self.
Hans-Georg Gadamer suggested that when some one or something different shows itself humans pull up short. Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas wrote that when the stranger appears at the door the host is faced with a paradox of unconditional responsiblity and risk. When we greet the stranger and what is different, we do so with uncertainty. The words host, hospitality, and hostile share etymological roots. We cannot know in advance who and what strangers represent when we greet them, but in Abrahamic tradition (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), the host is responsible for the care and well-being of that stranger.
Perhaps in being attentive and mindful to the world we exist in, we can better serve the stranger and what is strange when they appear.
I am struck by the otherness of things rather than their sameness.
The way a tiny pile of snow perches in the crook of a branch in the
tall pine, away by itself, high enough not to be noticed by people,
out of reach of stray dogs. It leans against the scaly pine bark, busy
at some existence that does not need me.
It is the differences of objects that I love, that lift me toward the rest
of the universe, that amaze me. That each thing on earth has its own
soul, its own life, that each tree, each clod is filled with the mud of
its own star. I watch where I step and see that the fallen leaf, old
broken grass, an icy stone are placed in exactly the right spot on the
earth, carefully, royalty in their own country.