Learning to See

Between the Clouds, Cheakamus River Valley, Tantalus Lookout, Sea to Sky Highway, Near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
I walk the world that is
Seeking the world that could be
If only I could learn to see it

Here and there, now and again
Exploration yields discovery

Not of a new world
But a new way of seeing

And so the world I walk
Will never seem the same

But the world will always be
Just as the world is now

The only change
Is me

Squamish Night ~ Squamish Light
Cheakamus River Valley
From the Tantalus Lookout
British Columbia, Canada


Just to help place the image with this poem, it took 17 seconds to acquire the light in this photograph. So, that’s not a sunset or sunrise. It’s the light of the town of Squamish rising up into the clouds. And that’s not a lava flow emptying into the Cheakamus River, but a car’s tail-lights as it drives south along the river road. It is a world I could never see, until I learned how to see it.

Who knows whence inspiration comes. What is its source? On this blog, it is almost always the images themselves.

This one…. this image troubled me for inspiration. I had some ideas. But… well, ideas don’t often lead a poet anywhere. At least, not this poet.

So I posted the photograph on the Pix to Words facebook page and instagram feed, asking followers for some prompts. There were a lot of great ideas, and as I was reading through them, the inspiration for this poem rose, and the words began to take shape.

I can’t say any one prompt did it. None of them quite went this direction. But, much like the theme of the poem itself, while reading them I somehow I learned a new way to see the image and my relationship to it.

So, thanks to those of you who offered their own inspirations. I was inspired by you all.

Oh, and if you want a little more detail of that “lava flow” (and the making of this photograph), Hunting in the Dark for Light features a heavily cropped version of this original full frame photograph.