Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Apple Tree Diary - Position

Have you ever considered your position in terms of where you are physically placed as a factor that influences your perception? Here I sit at my table, everyday at mealtime, looking through a west-facing window at an apple tree. Now that the days have cooled enough to close the window, twenty four panes of glass segment the tree into individually framed scenes. Every few seconds each scene changes as the sun rises higher in the sky casting a variety of shadows, a breeze tickles a few leaves, a pair of sparrows play tag in the branches. If I could “cascade the panes’ as the computer Windows’ program lets me “cascade the tiles”, I could drag the ripe apples to the bottom branches for easy picking. Ah, Fantasy.

If perception is reality, as they say, it would seem to follow that where and how we position ourselves (allowing that choice in the matter is, in itself, innately debatable) is pretty important---to understate the case. So I ask myself, “why sit and look out the window then---especially one that obstructs a clear view with divided lights?” And here comes the muse, rising like the jinni out of the lamp.

Divided lights --- yes, we all live by our own divided lights, our unique perspective, our position. A topic for endless exploration. The utterly amazing realization is that every single individual on our spinning earth has a unique position, a unique perspective, a framed view of their own. No wonder there is a great deal of gunfire beyond my apple tree --- literal and figurative.

One prominent public figure in the news has surely put a great deal of thought into his position in recent months. Alan Greenspan, our former Federal Reserve Chairman (age 81), is heavily invested in the process of repositioning himself. This is a fascinating story of power, personality, policy and politics (we won’t discuss money). Some are asking whether the mighty has fallen.


Ohh! How beautiful the Blue Jay is high up in the apple tree against the backdrop of bright red fruit! The little sparrow down below seems not to notice him though, oblivious to the danger of dislodged apples from above.

Perhaps relative to none of this --- is a quote from a letter inviting me to my 45th high school reunion at St. Mary’s Academy of the Visitation:

“Don’t ever let age wrinkle your spirits. Remember, Grandma Moses began to paint at age 78; at age 81, Benjamin Franklin played a major role in the writing of the US Constitution; and at age 60, Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel.”

It is a generally accepted opinion that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Chapel in an upside down position. Come to think of it, Greenspan’s new book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World is disturbing to some for its reversal of his former position. It all brings to mind a vision of Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole in her Adventures in Wonderland. Ah, Fantasy.