The Space Between
There’s a cold science to the warm observance of art. Fancy galleries and museums all over the world apply careful calculations to the placement of viewing-benches and lights. It is a detailed symphony of diagonals and distance, measured to accompany the artistry and elevate the experience of beauty. At a certain angle, from a certain number of steps away, even your favorite masterpiece could look unappealing, or downright ugly, or worse–simply quiet. Can you even fathom the travesty of such a fate? To have something silenced by the space between when it could have spoken to you and shared its ageless secrets with the very insides of your soul? Such is the power of distance.
Anything can look gross from up close, but if you look even closer, most things become wondrous once again. It is an issue of science and the computations required to discover the perfect perspective.
For someone like me, life is as much about the observations as it is about the experiences. (It’s not that I don’t have a little adventurer in my heart–it’s that I have a giant scientist sitting on top of her.) I am constantly calibrating my perspective–growing and shrinking the space between myself and my observations with a dexterity evolved from life-long practice. The decision to look closer or step farther is a crafted science I learned from my father, but the act of doing so is an art I picked up from my mom. I continue to study the science, and act the art into existence. The goal is not to change reality, hide from truth, or eradicate the acknowledgement of all the world’s bad–but to shift a paradigm and to remember that everything under the sun has a place and purpose.
How it affects us on the outside is often unavoidable, but we can control how it speaks to our insides. We can translate it–changing what is whispered into a language that creates our best selves, and a landscape of our best possibility. Language is our legacy, after all–and, much like perspective, is a melody of science and art.
Today, the sun set over me. Her rays warmed the air and her shimmering power stilled the clouds. Fragments of orange and silky webs of red-purple shot around in all directions, kissing the ground with pink light. The sun herself glorified in the show–radiating inward as much as outward–reveling in her great celestial roundness and yawning into her cosmic nap.
Below her, on the dusty plateau around me, a baby jackrabbit chased a pale green apple, paying no mind to the schedules of stars. He tried to capture the fruit, but its size was too great for such small eager hands and it would simply roll away. The little rabbit didn’t seem to mind the chase–the treasured green prize was more than worth a weary hunt. A hundred feet above his tall ears and grand adventures, a bird flew in circles, stretching her wings and enjoying this brief moment of time where her wingspan was larger than the sun. She sang loudly, and her whistled song was about her freedom from everyone and her ownership of all the world. No one contested her tune or argued her claim, because no one could. Hers is a freedom that lives in her heart and an ownership of possibility that lives in her mind–and she is the only one who has power or providence there, in her insides, where the truth of her lives.
I mimicked her whistle and she approved–acknowledging my heart’s freedom with a proud slant of her head. I nodded back and caught another glimpse of the little rabbit. He was focused on apples and even less interested in whistled freedoms than in the mapping patterns of magnificent stars. I let myself absorb the secrets of the Sleeper, the Hunter, and the Singer. It required no shift of diagonal or distance because beauty such as theirs needs no elevation. Anyone who looks or listens will experience full measure of their truths–the sun’s faith in the sanctity of cycles, the rabbit’s dedication to the purity of the present moment, and the bird’s reminder that every soul is as free as it believes itself to be. I filled my mind with their wisdoms and carried the inspiration with me–down the pathway, past the guards, through the gates, and into my prison cell…
where I continued to whistle the song of my freedom.
Such is the power of perspective and beauty.