New View on the World

June 11, 2021

I remember a long time ago, my aunt Ellie was taking a drawing class and she was very excited about it. I was a young kid at the time, but I still remember what she told me about how, when one changes their perspective on the world, a whole new world emerges. She showed me how it’s easier to draw, say, a photo of a person’s face, if you turn the photo upside down. She said you’ll see it more clearly, and appreciate the nuances and subtleties of the portrait if you remove your preconceived notions of what that person looks like. Our brain has a tendency to be lazy, to not really see a subject or a view and instead rely on an already imprinted idea of what that person or place looks like. She told me to really see what’s in front of you, you’ve gotta change things up.

(It reminds me of when I was little and would lie on my back with my head hanging down over the edge of the bed and look at my room upside down. I’d pretend the ceiling was the floor and vice versa. Suddenly I’d see pictures on the wall in a whole new way, or I’d see a flaw in the paint I’d never seen. The relationship between space filled versus space empty was a whole new ballgame.)

Anyway, I changed things up today… not quite intentionally, but I achieved that desired effect. I was doing the whole loop around Putah Creek with Darlene. I always walk clockwise around that far end of the Arboretum, but today we walked counterclockwise around the lake (sorta lake). This meant I was seeing views I’d not quite seen before (well…. not in a long time anyway). Same creek, same trees, same islands in the middle of lakes, same trail… and yet, everything at that end of the Arb looked different.

For example, I never come to this fork in the road when walking clockwise, I’m just on one fork or the other.. but walking in the opposite direction it’s quite forky, isn’t it?

This view was also a bit gasp-worthy:

I’m certain this has implications well beyond creek views.