Sunday, October 19, 2014

LANDSCAPES

When I converse with Nature, just as when I converse with people, perspective is everything. Close up, I can see the pores and the warts; far away, details start to blend together, and the subject becomes shape, pattern and movement.

Perhaps this is why I so appreciate a beautiful landscape. Both broad and deep in its scope, the view rolls out in a seamless progression of receding layers all the way to the horizon…and beyond. It always fills me with wonder and gratitude.


But something's been happening to our landscapes, something that's occurred in just the last generation or two. Fewer and fewer of us—most glaringly, fewer of those under thirty—seem able to find one any more. Part of it is that such unbroken stretches of unspoiled land are disappearing. If a housing development hasn't obliterated the view altogether, a highway, power line or cell phone tower stains it.

But as I so often preach, seeing is a two-way street. It doesn't have to do with just the quality of what's being looked it; it also has to do with the looker. And that we can do something about.

   These mental eyesores are about as unwelcome 
   as a frac sand mine in Eden.

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
A panorama might have all the qualities you could ever want in a vista—all those sublime strata of terrain, foliage and sky, unmarred by any trace of man's meddling. Maybe a lake or river graces the scene. If you're lucky, a tired sun pours that last, precious, liquid-gold light over hill and dale.

As ideal as it sounds, that picture can still be marred. This time, though, the defacement occurs at the other end of the exchange—in the eye of the beholder. The rude blurting of my cell phone blocks my view; cynicism slashes the canvas; concerns with time or responsibility dog-ear the corners.


Whatever the culprit, these mental eyesores are about as unwelcome as a frac sand mine in Eden.

Think of it as one's state of mind being his or her internal landscape. I see more, reflect more, learn more when that inner view spreads out all around me as if I stood atop a mountain. And anything that spoils that sensual, spiritual space ruins not just my mental outlook but my woods-and-rocks-and-waters view as well.

It all comes down to my belief that we see pretty much what we want to see.

   The view starts deep in my soul and extends, 
   simultaneously, to both earth’s horizon and  
   that of my deepest internal knowing.

To understand this in the context of my pantheistic view of the world, it helps if I see the inner and outer views as one entity, one continuous vista that starts deep in my soul and extends, simultaneously, to both earth’s horizon and that of my deepest internal knowing.

WHAT'S YOUR VIEW?

Where does your outer landscape end and your inner one begin? Are you aware of how they overlap? Can you feel your ability to appreciate the view improve when you clear your mind and spirit of distractions? How do you do that?


2 comments:

jennifer JHM said...

I think I'll add reading blogs to my list of hobbies.
Your posts always encourage me to think a little more deeply about nature.
This morning when I woke up it was very foggy, so I grabbed my camera and went out to get some shots, all the while thinking, this is blog material.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey Jennifer -- Along with your wonderful writing, it sounds like you're really enjoying the renaissance of your photography passion -- even some pretty decent night shots. Good for you!
Thanks for the comment -- glad my posts are inspiring you.

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