Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Point of View

It feels to me as if we - and this is the everybody 'we' - are getting worse and worse at looking at things from differing points of view.  Our tunnel vision is getting thicker walls with fewer outlets.  Our blindspots are becoming invisible to us as we allow our brains to ignore their existence.  We are either too lazy or too battered to address the issue, so our inability to really see, hear and feel atrophies further until one day someone breaks into our little haven of certainty and all we can do is strike out violently because we have backed ourselves into a corner and everything that isn't ours must certainly be an attack.

One thing I need to do more often is to look at things in different ways.  So, I put together an exercise for myself on the farm.  Why?  Because I believe that if I practice changing my point of view with little things, I will have an easier time exercising it on bigger things.
Picture 1
I walk by this area on the farm every single day, but I don't usually see it.  I see Valhalla (the high tunnel) in the background.  Or, the field that is in front of Valhalla.  Or, when there are chickens there, I see the pasture just behind it.  But, I rarely give the walnut tree, the old fence, the old truck topper or the wood pile much of a glance.  I do know they are there. I just don't give it much attention or thought.

Our turkeys, on the other hand, saw this area very differently than I do.  They made a mass break-out from their pasture a week or so ago.  We found a fraction of them just outside the fence and as close to the door to their room as they could get.  But, we could not find the rest.  We hunted around the pasture, we checked the nearby hen pasture and we were looking any number of places.  We could not find them.

It turns out we walked past them more than once.  They found this area (and the pieces of cement to the left) and decided that it was worthy of a great deal of attention.  They had decided to roost there for the night.  Since it was dark, we might be forgiven for not seeing them right away.  But, the truth is, we weren't even thinking about looking there.  Happily, Tammy's brain must have taken note of something different and she decided to look more carefully after getting that little nudge.  What happens if she is never willing to consider a different perspective?

Now that we found them there, we see a good deal to recommend this area to the turkeys.  It has some nice perching areas for roosting.  It has a little shelter, some taller grasses to forage in AND it was near the flock of henlets.  In their turkey brains, this was a good place to be if you are unable to find your way back to your room.
Picture 2
After all, the view from the selected area still shows their red building.  Yes, the one they were SUPPOSED to be in that evening.  It also shows the hen pasture, with which they had some familiarity.  The only difference was that they are now on the opposite side of the hen pasture from where they were supposed to be.

I guess this brought about two thoughts:
1. Looking at things from a different point of view can be exciting and frightening, so it often helps to have some grounding to survive the experience.
2. Are humans no better than our turkeys that never leave their fenced in pasture?  Seeing everything from only that perspective and no other?
Picture 3
This is the path that we often walk to get to the broiler chickens and their pasture area.  It is situated just to the right of the first picture.  Proof positive that we really do walk past that area regularly.

Is it possible that there are many people with whom we have strong disagreement who are really only a step to one side or the other of where we are looking?  Are we really so blind as to be unable to turn our head ever so slightly to see what others are seeing so we can find ways to work together?  It certainly seems as if we are.

Picture 4
Here's where it gets even more fun. I took THIS picture from the same spot as the others.  Perhaps I moved 5 or 6 feet one way or the other to frame the picture a little.  But, that's really not much at all.  We herded the wayward birds between these fences and toward the North so we could go around the hen pasture and in to the turkey pasture.  This may well have been the turkeys' original route from their pasture.

When you look at this picture it almost seems like you are in a different world.  Yet, you can see it from pretty much the same place.  Have you ever wondered why someone you grew up with - perhaps a family member or childhood friend - doesn't see what you see?

Picture 5
I took a quick walk North of the temporary henlet pasture with its electric fence.  I turned around and took a picture, looking back at some of the same area that was shown in pictures 2 and 4.  Pictures 1 and 3 are to the left.  From picture 2, there was no way you could have known that the red building (we call it the Poultry Pavilion) was nearly so long.  For all you can see in the earlier picture, it could have been quite short.  And, you couldn't necessarily tell from picture 4 that there were henlets and a portable building inside of that fence.  Perhaps you could infer something must be in there because there was a fence.  But, it could have been a narwhal as far as you were concerned.

What is it you are missing and can you possibly predict what it could be? 
Picture 6
I then turned in place and took this picture.  It shows the multiple peaks of Mount Evermess, one of our compost piles.  It also shows a pear tree and a couple of spruces (and some corn in the background).  If I didn't tell you that this was taken from the same spot as the previous picture, would you have put them together?

And now I present the ultimate absurdity.  What if you and I stood next to each other and you looked at the building and henlets (#5) and I looked at the compost piles, trees and corn (#6).  I proclaim that composting is the answer and you counter with raising chickens as the answer.  Then, we start calling each other names.  You are an idiot and a $%*#@$% because you can't see the wonderful compost right here.  I am an imbecile and a #@$%*#$% because I can't see all of the chicken manure we can use.  Neither of us turns to look.  We just get more and more rude.  More and more angry.  And we build the walls thicker in our vision limiting tunnels.  Knowledge of our blindspots fade from our awareness.  And we get nowhere together.  Fast.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! Deep thoughts from the frozen farmer. Thanks for helping me to see and think about the "bigger picture"! And, a reminder that what we see, do, and think, does not exist in a vacuum!


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