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Another day in the country with perspective

© Another Day in the Country

As an artist, it’s all about perspective: your viewpoint, your level, your eye. Then, the challenge is to render what you see accurately. It’s pretty much the same with writers.

It’s pretty much the same with people in general; but they just may not be aware of how subjective, limited, fleeting and, yet, life changing their perspective can be. We can all be looking at the very same thing but it’s our perspective that tells the story. Perspective changes the whole picture.

We do this little trick in art: hold up two fingers spread and place the two fingers (spread) from your other hand over the top to make a box. Look through. You are essentially framing your perspective and blocking out all the rest of the view.

I’ve been working on my perspective this holiday season. By working I mean noticing, shifting, doing course corrections. During the holidays, we have a lot of expectations for ourselves and for our family. We want to celebrate! We want to sing “Joy to the World,” at least I do. You may have some other carol in mind. However, in any given 30 day period there is a little of each: joy and sorrow, pride and shame, triumphs and failures, good luck and bad.

We were heading to Abilene on one of our Big Nights Out, planned, anticipated, excursions. We were all dressed up. We had make up on, earrings in place — the whole nine yards. The truck was warmed up and carols were playing on the radio when I went to pick up Jess. The inside of the truck smelled like popcorn because we were missing supper, so I’d brought some along to munch. The weather was cold and clear, stars shining. It was lovely!

I pulled up to Jessica’s front door. Her little bungalow was all decked out with Christmas lights. When she got in the truck I said, “Isn’t this just perfect? Notice (I grinned in the dark) it’s warm, carols, popcorn, and we’re on our way!” She noticed.

As we drove along, I had to chuckle. “Yep, whether it’s perfect or not, depends on how you look at it,” I said.

We were actually driving Tim’s old truck because my grandma car was being repaired. The night before, I’d been practicing my “don’t swerve for deer” stance and had hit a huge raccoon who ran out in front of the car. One got past, one hit, BANG, tumble, rumble and we drove on, slowing our racing hearts, thankful that coon wasn’t bigger.

When I got home, I discovered radiator fluid running out from underneath the car — lucky we had made it this far! That coon had cracked my radiator. Did you know they make radiators out of plastic? On a Lincoln?

“Not to fret,” said my sister. “We can take my car, tomorrow night.” But her car suddenly developed an electronic tic and locked all of her keys inside, again! So here we were with TTTs truck (which comfortingly, usually, smelled like him — grease and dirt) as the only vehicle which was drivable. That old Chevy was purring along, still taking care of us — like Tim loved to do. Perfect? Not perfect? It depends on your perspective.

After watching “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” (which wasn’t) we drove around Abilene, looking for lights. “Remember when we did this last time with Tim?” I asked Jess. She was remembering the exact same thing. Tim would patiently drive up and down the streets, “Turn right. Turn left,” following directions on our seemingly insatiable trek to see Christmas lights.

He was pretty darn patient — as he’d remind us, if we opened our mouths to critique the lyrics of the songs playing on the country radio station on the way home. “Can’t you two just listen?”

“We’re listening, Tim-bo.” It’s Christmas! I’m still writing “Another Day in the Country.” (We still have some of the afore mentioned books left, too.) Love you!

Last modified Dec. 28, 2011

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