Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seeing the Nothing

"Seeing the nothing, seeing what is not in the landscape, empowers the explorer, because discerning what is not in the picture enables the explorer to make connections. The explorer who slows down or stops for a few moments to look around, to catalog what appears to be absent, becomes the connoisseur of noticing. Most people look around and see thing. The explorer looks around and sees the patterns and revelations disclosed by things absent."

"Outdoors, away from things experts have already explained, the slightly thoughtful person willing to look around carefully for a few minutes, to scrutinize things about which he or she knows nothing in particular, begins to be aware, to notice, to explore. And almost always, that person starts to understand, to see great cultural and social and economic and political patterns unnoticed by journalists and other experts. In that understanding may come a desire to cry out, to tell friends or family or total strangers about discoveries great and small, but the understanding may just as well produce secrecy, a quiet smile, a satisfied nod. Whatever else that understanding of exploration, of discovery, brings, it brings a specialness, a near magic to the explorer that attracts other people who want to know what is so worth looking at."

from "Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places" by John R. Stilgoe

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