I took Caleb for a rainy walk in the woods this morning and along the way saw 3 Red Efts, which felt pretty special. I saw the first one about midway through my walk and after that, kept my eyes peeled and saw two more along the way.
So, of course, being an ego-centric human, I fell easily into the illusion of thinking that those 3 Red Efts, spotted on a rainy morning in July, represented all of the Red Efts in our woods.
But almost immediately I realized how silly that was. Obviously, there are lots and lots of Red Efts in our woods — not just the 3 I happened upon. And there are Red Efts in lots of places beyond our woods — like Vermont, for example, or maybe North Carolina.
Not only that, but I hadn’t seen all of the Red Efts that were right on my path, either. I only started looking after I noticed the first one. And even then, I often glanced elsewhere as I walked. No doubt I missed lots of the little creatures while I gazed at the trees and leaves and birds and other interesting things that caught my eye.
So, what’s my point?
That my experience and my field of vision are both breathtakingly singular, as are yours. The paths we travel afford us views of just what we can see from where we are. No matter what path we choose to set our feet upon, we see what we’re able to see from that vantage point. And even then, we don’t see everything.
This I find both comforting and confounding.
There are a couple of responsibilities embedded here that I think I need to take more seriously. And both have a lot to do with humility.
- One of the responsibilities is that of really recognizing the limitation of my perspective – that it is breathtakingly singular.
- And the other is broadening and expanding that perspective whenever I can.
What does that mean in practice?
Well, in Red Eft terms, it means being open to seeing the Red Efts when they fall into my field of vision AND being also open to the fact that I’m not seeing all of them by any stretch of the imagination.
And why now?
Well, because it concerns me, how divided our country has become. Realizing that my view is breathtakingly singular may help. At least it’s something I’m going to keep in mind the next time I am tempted to pontificate.