Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not as in fiction, to imagine things that are not really there, but just to comprehend those things that are there.
Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
Yesterday I heard a podcast about blind teenagers becoming photographers. Tony Deifell, a teacher and photographer, has created a new book called Seeing Beyond Sight. He tells this story: After the photographs have been developed, we, as a class, talk about each one. I remark about what I see and the student acknowledges whether this was her intent. Sometimes, Tony, assumes that the photographer missed the image she was trying to get. In one such case where there was a photograph of a sidewalk with a crack, he assumed that the creator had missed. But, the young photographer said, "No, this is what I wanted. My cane gets caught in the crack and I trip. I want to send this picture to the city department so they can fix the crack." Tony went on to talk about the letter she wrote to the city acknowledging how they must have no idea how such a thing could be bothersome. In fact, she went on, it is only because I am blind that I notice it. (The crack got fixed!)
Isn't it interesting how little time we have to listen and to see. If, in fact, we assumed that everyone, every age, every vantage point, had something interesting to note and observe ...how much richer our world would be. Blind students becoming photographers! How much more they know than we give them credit for. Perhaps this is more our loss than theirs! As one of the students said, "It is not so difficult to take pictures, you just have to listen."
I think one of the most valuable things we can do is put ourselves in strange situations that cause us to wake up -- to enliven our senses and to wonder at the remarkable multi talented gifts we each have to share with each other and the world. Here is one way to begin the exploration: Learning is experiential... it involves all the senses.