From A Distance
From Diane M. Nault
Publishers’ note: Monday March 8, 2021 is International Women’s Day. We observe the day with this essay from a woman author.
From a distance, the snow-covered shrubs in my backyard look like puffy marshmallows. And the snow on top of the deck railing looks like someone has piped a frilly border of whipped cream. From a distance the icicles at the roof’s edge look like jagged dragon’s teeth and the ice encrusted branches on the tree sparkle like diamonds in the sun.
It is interesting how from a distance, things have a peaceful, serene even wondrous quality. But looks can be deceiving. On closer inspection, the view changes. It’s all about perspective and proximity. Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Monet’s gardens are so beautiful when seen from a distance. But up close, you see jagged blobs of paint, harsh zig zagging streaks of color, each one slashing into the next.
From a distance, brush strokes and squiggles of knife edges full of paint blend together and create a beautiful blending of colors. Our eyes refocus on the “bigger picture” not on the imperfect brushwork or the minor details. Up close we tend to see all the flaws, the missteps, the jarring contradictions. We sometimes forget to step back and see the scene as a whole canvas.
Living in this pandemic, we may be too focused on all the bits and pieces of how our lives have changed. Routines have been disrupted and ordinary, every day life has been altered. No doubt we mourn the loss of coming and going freely through our day, greeting friends and relatives openly and heading off on the spur of the moment to do some shopping or to eat a meal in a restaurant. We question whether any of these things will ever again be part of a “normal” day. But are we forgetting to step back and consider the bigger picture?
We are all still alive. We have food and shelter, good friends and family members. We have managed to reach out to others whether through phone calls, email or zoom sessions. Even when isolating in our homes we maintain connections with others. Vaccines are coming and numbers of infected people are declining. Our months in hibernation are drawing to an end. Step back and look at the bigger picture. Even from a distance I know that spring is on the way. Today’s forecast is for rain rather than snow. A pandemic cannot deter Mother Nature. Soon we’ll be welcoming the return of daffodils and tulips in the gardens. Despite the snow piled in my yard, I know this too shall pass. To everything there is a season…Just wait for it.