In an increasingly off-kilter world, here’s an image that also feels a bit bewildering.
My daughter hates looking at this picture (“it’s so weird!”). My son thinks it’s kind of cool (“it looks 2D and 3D at the same time”). And my husband called it “fascinating.” (That’s his shadow on the left riding the chairlift with me.)
“Huh?” That’s my own keen and insightful title for it.
It was intended as the most internally-focused of images—the selfie. During a routine and repetitious chairlift ride I noticed our shadows traveling alongside us up the mountain, like fellow skiers headed to their own obscure and shadowy destination. Perhaps a secret stash of deep and silent snow.
Despite their ubiquitousness—they share our common, adventurous, perplexing, uncertain lives…as long as there’s sunlight—our shadow selves are typically ignored. But this particular morning I saw them (us?) and gave them my attention for a full chairlift ride.
Was this narcissistic, artistic, meditative, or just another way to pass a slow ride hanging out on a cold metal chair? Who knows? Regardless, a real skier appeared briefly and unexpectedly, and he changed that top image entirely, altering its composition and perspective. And now none of us agree on how we see it. I’m OK with that.
Change is constant, even as it’s unexpected. Perspective matters. We travel the same paths, chairlift rides, trails over and over, but are they really the same each time? And do we even notice? A few rides and clouds later and these shadow selves were gone, maybe off to mysterious haunts.
Shifting perspectives can be intriguing and necessary on occasion, even when we’re left uncertain and thinking “huh.”
No word yet from those stealth skiers on their secret ski spots.