It is Saturday morning and as I write this I'm sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. Saturdays in the summer provide some welcome time to slow down, rest, and recover from the week. I can stop and sit in the kitchen instead of just passing through.
I look out onto the back deck and see waves of green leaves rising in the trees around me. They move exactly the same way as waves of water, rolling up and back. Highlighted by the morning sun the leaves are more yellow than green; green in my mind, golden in reality.
Our ability to see what is actually in front of us is the subject of a fascinating article by Maria Popova about artist and educator Josef Albers. Albers wrote The Interaction of Color, a classic expansion on the relative nature of color. The Interaction of Color is more than just "an art book" -- it is a treatise on perception and more fundamentally, an invitation for us to open our eyes and look around.
What really caught me was Popova's quote from several Albers biographers:
Albers believed that in normal seeing, we use our eyes so much because the world is controlled by our vision, but we become so accustomed to it that we take things for granted. And when he talked about visual perception, he meant something much more profound than just the way we look at the world — he would stop and look at the world, look at the smallest object, smallest event, and see through it in a deep kind of way. … He would see magic, he would see something deeper. And he believed that the majority of people just missed the true reality — it was available for everyone to see, but nobody was looking. And that was where his notion of “to open eyes” really comes from.
In my odd mind this reminded me of a line from the modern-day classic Joe Versus the Volcano (well, it's a classic to me, at least!): "Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. Only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."
Open your eyes. Good advice for a Saturday morning.