The Power of Perspective

most of the neighbors
i know best

are rolling stones
without a rest
are free birds
without a nest
     cannot go home
     they are homeless

 this month i have been thinking about point of view. 

 in photography, perspective is one of the defining characteristics of a “great” photo, rather than just a hum-drum “basic” picture. 

 in film, the camera’s point of view influences the emotion of a scene, the power (or lack thereof) of a character, or simply keeps the viewer’s attention. 

 in literature… just kidding. 

perspective adds value to art because it allows the viewer to connect the emotions and thoughts they brought with them - brought to the piece they are now experiencing. 

 so why is it in everyday life, perspective is so easily overlooked? 

the city is a world in its own respect. there are several colleges within several miles of one an another. there are multiple general purpose stores. there are multitudes of coffee shops. there are tourists. there are natives. there is an extensive amount of homeless (so many, in fact, that the city is currently trying to pass a law that will designate certain areas as “homeless camp grounds”). 

 when you pass another human on the street they are likely just one of the mindless in the sea of zombies fixed to a smartphone screen shuffling toward you in a crosswalk. 

 but i wonder - what does that message say? what song are they listening to? 

 if we talked, i bet there is something we share. i bet we are not alone. (check out ‘something in common’ by the band dawes) 

now i am not an extrovert, but i love people. i love humans. look at this race! we are wild beings, racing towards a great unknown. everyday we come closer to something we aren’t sure we were looking for. often it seems that we are now also getting further from what we started with. 

 each other. 

 we have political parties to support. we have movements to champion. we have a cause to belong to. we have an email to send. we have a family to worry about. we have a job to get to. we have everything

everything seems to get in the way of an honest connection. 

a sincere “how are you?” 

an honest, “today i am feeling sluggish because i woke up later than i expected and my dog was sick all last night and the weight of this life is sometimes just a little suffocating.” 

and it is hard to remember that someone else is living a story while you speak to them, or pass them, or see their Facebook post. it is hard to judge and simultaneously remember, “oh they’ve lived through some bits.” 

 but is it too much to try? 

 more than ever, every story needs to be heard. we are running out of excuses on why we haven’t listened. sure, it takes some time away from your busy life to catch up with your cashier, your barista, your server, your significant other, your child, but if we aren’t willing to give each other one of the only truly free things in life (you pay for bottled water!!!) then what have we become? 

listening to a story, hearing someone’s woes, feeling someone’s heartache will help you as much as it helps them.

 how? 

you’ll walk away with a perspective to add to your own. 

after all, you are a work of art.