Sunday, June 3, 2012

Looking & Seeing

The South Natick Dam
06-01-12, charcoal pencil
The other day I thought if I spent 20 minutes drawing this view of the dam, I'd be sure to see (and presumably draw) a fish leaping out of the water trying to scale the dam. No such luck. I have seen them in the past though. It's like seeing shooting stars: it happens and some imagery imprints on your retina and the brain decodes and sends the message:  "I just saw a shooting star!" Or, "Hey, that was a fish leaping!" By the time the words have formed in my consciousness, the event has ended. I imagine it's like winning the lottery or playing the stock market: there's a small adrenaline rush.

And it makes me think about the relation of looking to seeing. When do we first "see" something (or someone)? I'm reminded of the moment, after a long flight, of seeing a new friend at the airport for the first time (having only seen photos before). There was a delirious and instantaneous shock in the brain as the circuits realigned and a new order took over and life struggled to catch up.

Wait! I just saw a… Did you see it too?

(A large willow tree limb has gotten marooned on the top of the dam. It's been there for a few weeks now and you can see that it has sprouted branches and a lush growth of leaves. I imagine if it could just be left alone that roots would sprout and Birnam Forest would have come to Natick!)

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