there was this knot-hole in this tree on this trail. i used to stop there each time we hiked – to gaze through it…stand and take in what i could see through the tiny porthole in the woods. always, it was a reminder of the fluidity of time, of ever-present change, of nothing standing still.
the porthole i found in the milwaukee art museum – through one of barbara hepworth’s sculptural pieces – had the same impact on me. bending down, i focused only on what i could see through that porthole. on a different day, at a different time of day, in a different month or season, never static. even minutes from my peeking-through, the wind picked up and the lake’s surface roiled a bit and all from before was erased.
late-late on sunday nights – into the wee hours – we stay awake to listen and watch our son livestream mixes from a club in chicago. he was away for a couple weeks and we missed these late dj nights. they are our porthole – our tree-knot-hole – into what he is creating, producing, learning, feeling. every midnight-hour-sunday we see the changes in the new seasons of his work, his growth, his zeal, his poise at tech controls that evoke curves of mood, layers of sound, textures of music we may not have accessed otherwise. we see his joy.
it’s the same reason i took my first snowboard lesson. at that time, it was a porthole view into our daughter’s life – a peeking window that allowed us to feel the smallest smidge of her professional work. watching her fly down mountains, picking up speed and agility and ever-more skill through our tree-knot-hole on the sidelines and touching her joy-magic with our own feet on a snowboard on a hill.
we can assume things about others. humans do it all the time. broad sweeping generalizations about people and peoples – different because of race or color or gender identity or ethnicity or country of origin or age or disability or socioeconomic status or politics or religion or whatever the prejudice-de-jour might be. we glance over at “them” and form opinions; we claim to be “open and affirming” yet we slam closed the porthole that might give us a true look into their life. we scrub away the transparency of truth and apply the balm of our agenda – totally missing perspective, the possibility of commonality, the gift of community, the connectedness of us all as a species attempting to just keep on keeping on.
were we – perhaps – to notice, to step forward and take a closer look, to shield ourselves from inevitable human failings of assumption and instead to breathe deeply and gaze – we might have a view into the sameness of us all, the things that unite us, the things we need honor and hold in high regard….that we are all one under the sun. that while we cannot walk in another’s shoes, we might learn by looking through any and every tree-knot-hole we can find. that new eyes, new focus may also mean new learnings and new appreciation and new grace. that we should stop and peer through portholes whenever we can. there’s no time to waste.
read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY