Saturday my wife and I took the dogs and went off to the dog park. It was while traipsing around that rugged landscape that my knee went from bad to worse. It was also during this outing that I explored the various trees and branches and sticks and water containers for the dogs. The sky and the sun bursting through the leaves on the many trees that dot the landscape. Observation is such an important part of the poetry process. Even when not writing I think there is something to be said for taking in what is around us and looking at it with an eye for detail. Not so much for the ability to recount specifics, though this can be a beneficial exercise, but more importantly looking for the extraordinary in the otherwise ordinary.
From reading biographical material on Sylvia Plath as well as her journals I was long ago struck with how she was constantly seeking the poem in everything she came into contact with. Even odd jobs she took while attending Smith College provided fodder for her writing.
I am not quite as tuned into everyday events in the way she apparently was, but I do make an effort to see the poetry around me. One cannot underestimate the benefits that come from sharpening the observation skills. Mine are far from perfected.