In praise of the dull

I was challenged today about my description last week of sparrows as dull. I hereby apologise fully to those sparky little fliers. I only meant their colour, not their character. And of course, that brings up the possibility of me being ‘brown-ist’. I mean there are many glorious shades of brown (aren’t there??) and many lovely brown things…

but sparrows are not toucans, and comparatively speaking they are ((((dull)))).

This has had me thinking about dullness though – which is not necessarily a bad thing at all anyway. I have had many a dull Saturday night at home watching telly – and pulled up the next morning feeling refreshed and restored. Quiet, slightly boring times are often just the ticket. If there is a choice between dull and chaotic, I’ll choose the dull almost every time.

And sometimes dull is just an indication that we haven’t looked very closely. Dull landscapes are pretty amazing when you get close up to them. Supposedly dull people often prove to be fascinating when you really get to know them. Even ourselves, whom (if I am anything to go by) we can find pretty dull on a day-in day-out basis as we plod through the never-ending routines and chores of everyday life, have our intriguing elements and general wondrousness to the people who love us.

So, dull sounds like an insult to last week’s birds and lots of other things besides; but in the spirit of closer inspection, the ordinary, quotidian and commonplace are the stuff of most of our lives. They only require a bit of attention to shine out, for their magic to be seen.

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