Do you see that pine cone sitting here on the top of this blog? Do you really see it? If you do–if you’re looking at it deeply–even noticing the needles and branches, I would say you are a Visual Person.
The purpose of this blog is to explain a dirty little secret.
Are you ready?
Some of us don’t primarily perceive the world visually.
Up until recently I would enter a room and absorb it like a landscape without noticing details. Unless the details held energy, or contained meaning. That’s the best way to describe it. A visual assessment that took in the whole rather than the parts.
(Which may mean that some of us are wide-angle visual people while others of us are detail-oriented people. In which case, forget the primary assumption of this blog.)
For years, when I opened magazines or newspapers I literally did not see the photographs. They held no interest. But the words! The words zinged and whistled and yelped and caressed and sang and danced. The words rock ‘n rolled. The words spoke to the heart beneath the heart. And if someone said, “What did you think of that photo?” my response was usually, “Photo? What photo?”
I loved writing from a tiny age. Wrote my first poem in 3rd grade, my first book in 4th grade. But I was not interested in painting pretty picture words. Not interested in writing as a way of accentuating or describing the landscape, the environment, the path through a visual world.
No. Writing sang through the cells and pores because it described moods, feelings, energy. It dipped and dove through cobwebs of not-knowing and made sense of the seemingly senseless. It illuminated. It lit a candle in a dark and dusky recess of the brain. The words gave life!
Photos? What were those? How could they give life in the same way? How could the visual world ignite the soul in the same way as syllables and sentences?
In 1987 the Anishinabe (Ojibway) of the Upper Peninsula began to teach me of their beliefs, traditions and ceremonies. The first thing I noticed was the intertwining of dreaming and nature. I opened my eyes. Saw the eagle in the sky and thought “Awareness!” Glimpsed the mouse scampering by and thought “Detailed vision!” Watched the bear cross the road and thought “Dreamer” and when the deer clumped his hooves on the ground thought “Wisdom.”
The world now appeared magical and I looked around, astounded, at an environment now rich with spiritual meaning. I truly saw, for the first time. What a gift! Spent summers learning the name of wildflowers, plants, trees, seed pods, animals.
The eyes opened wider.
Last year I learned to see through the eye of a camera. For a mostly non-visual person, this was interesting. I had no attachment to the photos, and only took them to add zest to the outdoor blog. People began to say, “I really like your photos” and I thought, “What? What do you mean? Photos? Huh?”
Cataloging the 10,000 photos I took in the last year takes an hour or two each day. I now stare mesmerized at the pictures, not looking at the blog-words. Ponder the landscape, look at details, peer in strange nooks and crannies.
I no longer insist that the visual world needs to contain meaning. Instead, finally, the world seems simply “as it is”. Itself. A pine cone is a wonderful pine cone. A spruce is a spruce. The tree is its beautiful self.
I am almost…almost…a visual person.
Except, sorry to say, I probably will not notice your haircut, your clothing or your remodeled house.
It’s gonna take some time. Please have patience. 🙂