Tuesday, November 5, 2002

It’s strange, I suppose. It’s strange how it comes and goes: the ability to see. It’s strange how some people have it and other people don’t. Those who do have it have it on different levels. I have it. But not every day. Most days, I suppose, I do have it. Even on my best days I don’t see as well as some other people see.

How do you explain it to somebody who doesn’t have it? I’m not entirely sure. Two people are walking side by side down a sidewalk in late afternoon. The first person sees a crack in the sidewalk that if unnoticed would trip the duo up. The first person sees a car traveling down the alley that could be dangerous if the two do not yield. The first person sees what a lovely yard the neighbors have, how the leaves are all raked up. The bushes are pruned back nicely. The first person sees the street signs that ensure them that they are going in the right direction.

The second person sees a completely different universe. He sees the texture in the foliage that is starting to decay. He sees how the late afternoon light hitting the yellowed treetops makes the leaves so much brighter than the deep blue sky in the background. He sees a pattern of nine window frames with a crack breaking the otherwise neat arrangement. He sees silhouettes playing in the shadows. He sees the fire surrounding the backlit person walking the other direction. He sees how the electrical wires strewn across the sky form obstacles to an otherwise clean background. He catches little moments of serendipity all around him.

All this occurs in about 5 seconds and all these visions are put into different perspectives that include rules of thirds, tilted horizons, depth of fields, blurred motions, negative spaces. Moments in time, any one of them could be captured on a plane of film or on a digital CCD.

Surely a bloodhound can sniff its prey on any given day. Can’t a wine taster dismantle the many sophisticated tastes in a vintage chardonnay? Why then is the ability to see such a fickle thing. Why does it come and go like it does?

Thanks for reading!


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