Sunday, December 01, 2013

Learning to See

It’s not wise to think that there’s only one way to see things. Occasionally it’s a good idea to look at the world from a different perspective, to turn things topsy-turvy. Today the outdoors tugged at me like wind at a kite string so I pulled on my coat and boots and set off across the fields. In the center of one is a great heap of rocks piled up when the field was plowed under for corn. I climb to the top and sit in the hollow of the largest boulder. From there my view of the meadow alters.

Over the tops of the willows that line the creek bank I can see a third field with rows upon rows of old corn stubble converging to a point at one corner of the woods. I spy a small brown bird clinging to the tattered spike of a cattail. It sways slightly in the wind and I hear it singing, “Here I am, here I am, oh mine, this one’s mine.”

Over my head two geese wing their way through the too-blue sky, their harsh cries echoing down to me like falling leaves. Farther on, a red-tailed hawk sits on a branch high above me and watches me watching it. I climb into the lower branches of a sturdy tree and look down as the hawk does. My view of the earth changes again and so do my thoughts. With my feet ground-anchored and my eyes looking up I contemplated flight. Standing shakily on a tree limb looking down, I think of falling.

A dusting of snow on fallen leaves forms a patterned carpet and the sky is bracketed by tree branches sketched in sepia. Safely back on the ground I search for a soft dry place to lie down and discover a hollow. I snuggle in and the whole world becomes suddenly smaller to my eyes, encompassed by leaf covered banks and tree trunks and thick branches that allow only tiny glimpses of the sky. Here where my view is limited, I can let my imagination soar. When I was a child, this came easier. I was less reluctant to let go of my rational mind, more able to move unrestricted through the worlds inside my head. I could be the hawk soaring above and the girl on the ground and know them both from my protected place.

I have learned to acknowledge that while all things change, they stay the same. The wind still blows, even if I cannot feel it in the hollow. The sky changes from blue to smoke to dusk. At the end of today tomorrow waits, and tomorrow I will see everything differently.


Brian Miller said...

no there is def more than one way to see things, for sure...when we think we own the only way we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and missing out on so much in life..

June said...

Lovely. This is the way my thoughts would go when I was younger, too.

Have you read Thornton Burgess' Tommy and the Wishing Stone?

Out on the prairie said...

Once they harvest around me I walk for miles, often reliving childhood memories

Hilary said...

Mental perspective is one of the things we humans are gifted with. I always enjoy yours.

Anonymous said...

This is so true, and I love the way you illustrated it for us. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Marc Leavitt said...


"At the end of today tomorrow waits"; your glass is already half full.

Wisewebwoman said...

When I was a child I had the ability to imagine myself floating over houses and trees and oceans. I've tried to do it many times as an adult and end up crash landing :(.

I wonder why that is.

Lovely writing.


Friko said...

The phrase is: it’s all a matter of perception.

utO how much more poetic your version is.

Pauline said...

Brian - maybe that's why we have two eyes - one for us and one for the rest of the world…

June, I have not but now I must!

OOTP - it's a marvelous way to spend one's time, yes?

Thanks, Hilary!

Barbara - the baby was awfully sick but we did have a traditional dinner with all the favorites - a bit of pleasure in all the worry. Hope yours was good.

Marc - it always has been :) In fact, filing up and spilling over is a good definition, too. It's not as hard as people make it out to be, to be happy.

WWW - I used to float down the stairs and make myself tiny enough to hide in the grass - it's all coming back to me as I play with my grandchildren :)

Friko - thanks - life is good poetry :)

Molly said...

Yes, I definitely have to visit you next time I'm up that way.

Pauline said...

Molly, that's a for-certain-sure!