Seeing is Not Believing

This weekend was cleanup weekend as we head into winter and are feeling close on its heals. Window washing is part of the process. I wash in and Leo washes out. My job is done. It won’t last long but it is fun to see clear glass letting the light in stronger and giving more of a feel of inside is out and outside is in. There will soon be the finger smudges, markings from birds that hit the window, and general grime. The light now shines clearer on cobwebs, the dead flowers in the crystal vase that two weeks ago declared “Welcome Home” and now beg for the compost pile, the juice from a tomato that died before we could eat it. It is the end of a season. After the bright light of summer everything is looking tired. I declared to myself that I could now see out much clearer now that the windows are washed. The reality is that Leo has not washed the outside yet so it is possible that I just believe I can see better.

Studies have been done that show we all see things differently, even color. The green you see is not the green that I see. We can all see an event and walk away with a different version of what happened. You may focus on something I did not even see. In Hospice we use the team approach. There might be one person on the team who sees entirely different than anyone else. And someone then might say, “Oh, yes, now I see.” or “No, no I don’t see it that way at all.” It does not matter. All views matter and help to build a whole and we all discuss what is the best approach from all the input.

In the beginning of the year I had a cataract removed. The first day of sight is amazingly clear. Shocking in a way to see so clearly and then it begins to wane over a bit of time settling into a more ho hum vision. Shock will do that as well. After I had been in the hospital with a dying baby and was driven home after a week of interior life, I was stunned at the green beauty before me. How did this happen? It was as if everything had been painted in bright bold colors. I had been deprived of this long enough in a haze of grief that color lost its normalcy.

I made my 8 year old grandson a book for his birthday through Shutterfly and it is on its way. I took a photo of the cover and pasted it in his card so he could see his gift. My daughter saw what I and Leo could not see, I had given Remy his brother’s middle name. Not just once but twice in the book. I read and reread to proofread, as did Leo. We could not see what was before us and know to be incorrect.

No matter how much we polish the lens that we see through we still have bias, belief and life experience that we have to move through to really see. We begin to see with a ho hum vision that reads from habit, and conviction. There is a space, a gap, between what we see and what we tell ourselves we see. Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek, talks about going into the gaps. Those spaces between things, in this case between what we see and don’t see. Go into the gaps with courage, that narrow space before bias, conviction, and belief. We might see a whole new universe in raging color that does not match what we thought was alway true. We might be brave and allow ourselves to not believe what we are seeing and challenge ourselves to look again. Looking again in the gaps.

Rum River , todays walk.

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