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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do you see what I see?

One of my favorite riddles, if it even is one, is: Can you see farther in the daytime or the night time?
Spoiler alert, or, what we used to call the answer to the question, is that even though the obvious answer is daytime, you know it can’t be daytime or the question wouldn’t be worth asking. But then the quandary becomes Why or How can it be nighttime, when it’s dark out and we obviously can’t see as far? And so the riddle is best answered with a question: Can you see stars in the daytime? J
Sitting in (Quaker) Meeting this past Sunday, I decided to do something that I rarely ever do in Meeting, which is to close my eyes. (The reason is because I am almost certain to do what a certain someone had done right next to me this past First Day – fall asleep!)
And when I did close them, I decided to just watch the inside of my eyelids. Well, actually I don’t know if that’s what I really see when I shut my eyes. What I do see seems to fall into at least two categories.
The first, if I concentrate hard enough, is completely unpredictable –a living, swirling, motion-filled abstract painting.  I see all kinds of amazing shapes and colors. Dazzling, really! Yet, subtle too. Coming and going, shifting, sliding, hanging, staying still. Sparkles, jagged lines, swirls. And layers – lots of layers of colors and shades, though mostly just shades of dark and light. And so much depth. Squeezing my eyes together creates more variety, and rolling my eyes around brings even more dynamic changes.
And if I so choose, I can also see specific things! On Sunday, I chose to look at the Mojave Desert in Southeastern California and the drifting sand dunes I once bicycled over and around, blowing across the road. I could see them so clearly!
(Here's a shot from afar - not quite how I pictured it from my bike view, but the best I could muster online):

Then I thought of other things to see – my brother, Gary. My mom and dad and my close friend, Dennis, all of whom were probably looking back at me, maybe even through that same eyelid subsurface. (I think I feel a Stephen King novel coming on…though it seems almost more Edgar Allen Poe-ish.)

And soon, I was seeing all kinds of things that were, at least as we understand time and space, not otherwise visible to me. Which led me to wonder:

Can we see farther with our eyes open...or closed?


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