Looks Like Smoke, Smells Like Earth
Vacation time. Bleary-eyed from the sun, I make my way back to the cottage in the late afternoon only to find the ground moving in my periphery. When I look more closely I realize it’s not an earthquake: The grass is just on fire.
Or so I thought. Staring into the smoky ground I finally, truly make it out: a grouping of spider’s webs, lit by the low-slanting light, moving in the wind like smoke.
Seeing new things is my favourite thing. I love to explore. I couldn’t believe that I’d never seen this before, and yet we nearly always miss what’s there. It’s not like this is a surprise.
Contrary to our bias for peering deeply into things, nature has placed our most important perceptions on the periphery. Survival depends on the motion sensors at the edge of our sight, not so much on what we deduce from deep analysis in the centre of our gaze.
Absurdly, daily life has us obsessively engaged in focusing out the periphery (walking down the street with our faces in our cell phones), while vacationing allows us to just let go and observe from a broader range of vision.