The lens we look through will determine what we see.
I often encourage people to intentionally focus on a particular perspective by having them consider an idea or a topic through a framework, paradigm, theory or viewpoint. I’ll say – “let’s look through the lens of a …”, “we’ll explore this through the lens of …”.
This idea of exploring the world through different lenses is interesting and has been quite pertinent to me this last week. When I reflect, my first encounter of looking through a different lens came, oddly enough, in my childhood through the cartoon character Mr Magoo, a near-sighted retiree who bumbles from one comical escapade to another. This was the first time I realised (and no doubt, I couldn’t actually articulate it back then) that I could see things others may not or that I could view events differently from my own vantage point. Kaleidoscopes, a type of lens, with their colourful and varying patterns composing and recomposing themselves as reflected in tiny mirrors, enchanted and transfixed me. The world looked different through a kaleidoscope. I suppose the camera lens was next. My father had an avid interest in photography and the idea of freezing a moment to be viewed at another time drew my attention. How bewitching to view an image with the benefit of hindsight, with distance, from outside the situation looking in. To capture a moment to help strengthen a memory is so compelling.
Then there are words, another set of lenses through which I’ve experienced the world. Books and poetry, letters and essays. I’ve seen the world through the lens of many an artist too – their paintings and photographs, their sculpture and film have intrigued, moved and delighted me. They have taught me many lessons, sent me off on journeys of discovery and more.
I’ve looked through the lenses of different theories and notions, of different ideologies and standpoints. I’ve tried to employ the lens of empathy to inform my actions, thoughts and beliefs.
I have viewed life and explored its many wonders, trials and events through the lens of a curious though private child, a complex, self-conscious teenager, a grieving granddaughter, an unyielding and misunderstood young woman, a loving and loyal wife, a vigilant and watchful mother. And it’s this chronology, this moving from maiden through matron and heaven forbid I say it – to crone that I now find I look through a different set of lenses. Yes, alas, this new type of optical through which I will now view the world, only part-time mind you, are a full framed, clear lensed set of pretty little goggles.
Looking glass, drinking glass? Reading glass!
My age, you say, crept up on me
I can no longer compensate.
The reading kind for you today, you see.
It’s your age.
Time to look at the world differently.
It should be a trial, and yet, it’s not.
It simply is.
It just, bloody well, is.
In and out. Test this, test that.
Look up, look down.
Read this, read that.
Look near, look far.
It’s time for glasses you see.
The looking glass?
No, no a reading glass.
What a bum.
Through the looking glass, a grandma I see.
Crinkles and wrinkles.
The clearer I see, the more damned I be.
Nature is kind, my aunt once said.
Your eyesight goes and with it the wrinkles and crinkles, the greys and the years.
Such a to do.
There’s really no fuss.
I’m settled and calm, surprisingly.
Rally and rant – oh, no, not me.
It’s a change.
Silver shot locks
Different look. Different outlook.
No longer a maiden. Alas, a crone.
It’s an interesting life.
This cycle of things.
It’s simply a new lens, or two,
through which to filter the world around and beyond you.