Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘perception

And Then

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Suddenly, it was Saturday, August 13 in the year 2022. I woke up in the loft bedroom at the lake place, emerging from typically bizarre dream scenarios to gaze upon damp forest scenery under a hazy gray sky. Knocking off this morning’s Wordle in four, and burrowing deep into comments on Reddit about how fast time flies when looking at decades past, I luxuriate in loitering in bed until Cyndie wakes up.

Yes, I grew up before personal computers or cell phones, but waking up in the morning is pretty much the same as it has always been for me. As best possible, I try to trust my perceived reality is accurate and true. I always sensed that the ads at the back of a comic book or magazine hawking some sensational product like x-ray glasses were more hype than reality. Get rich quick schemes and miracle cure-all formulas, beach wimp to muscle-bound stud plans, or pounds melting away with ease all seemed dubious at best.

What is it about today’s technological advances that have led masses of people to swallow the loads of crap that grifters are dishing out in this day and age? I have no idea. How did typical dream-type bizarreness become everyday headlines? It’s weird.

At the same time, creative minds are still creating fascinating storylines for television series that stream on more platforms than I can keep track of. The ability to discern the fictional drama from what shows up in the news is getting tougher to maintain, but at least I can parse the fiction in measured doses. Binging does happen, but it’s optional.

The daily news keeps coming at us 24/7. I usually preach turning off the news but as time passes I find myself checking it out more than I used to. I think it is in large part a result of the unbelievableness of it all. Am I really living in a time like this? I guess so.

I failed to hit the water when I got up here yesterday. The wind was strong and the rain had just let up making it much more of a “sweatshirt by the fireplace” type of day than a “soak in the water” one.

Does the middle of August mean autumn is any closer than it’s always been at this point of the year? Maybe it just seems that way to me because time flies faster the older you get. It was never like this back when there were no cell phones or internet.

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Written by johnwhays

August 13, 2022 at 9:27 am

How Big

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how big is the universe?
how big is a galaxy
how big are the stars
how big is our solar system
the planets
our sun
the earth
the moon
an ocean
a continent
a mountain
a river
a nation
a state
a county
a parish
your neighborhood
your block
your property
your family
your home
your room
your closet
your wardrobe
your junk drawer
your tool kit
your jewelry box
your dreams
your fears
your reasons
your vision
your hope
how big is your trust
your heart
your belly
your head
your ego
your lungs
your muscles
your stamina
your breath
your individual cells
your molecules
your microbiome
your ions
your atoms
your protons
your neutrons
how big is your soul
how big do you feel
how big is your essence
your pride
your confidence
your accomplishments
your intentions
your reach
your voice
your table
your tribe
your culture
your region
your district
your government
your hemisphere
the world
our atmosphere
the constellations
how big is this galaxy
how big is the universe?

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2022 at 9:00 am

Artful Listening

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The universe is telling each one of us everything we need to know. Hearing the messages clearly is a trick because the chatter of our own minds serves as both a running distraction and a unique conduit for what the world is telling us. Sorting between the two is no simple task.

I can’t count the number of times I have found myself in the location of a tornado warning and not suffered a direct hit. Too many of those times I have neglected to go into the basement, choosing to stand at a window to observe instead. Hearing survivor stories from the incredibly damaging outbreak Friday that killed scores of people leaves me humbled.

Storms of old are no longer a safe reference for storms today.

Perception is not always reality.

That looks like old man Christmas leaning up against our house but what is up with the size of that tree he is holding?

If the tree is as big as it looks, Mr. Kringle must be HUGE!

Of course he is. His magic covers the world. His message to us is overflowing with peace, joy, love, and goodwill.

Don’t let our busy minds obscure the meaning.

Listen to the love. Send extra doses of love to the victims of the December outbreak of deadly tornadoes across portions of South-Central United States and the Ohio Valley.

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Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2021 at 7:00 am

Believing Reality

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To read spur of the moment online reactions to tragedies unfolding this day and age one can get the perception that events in the world are more extreme than ever. Certainly, to everyone alive today, current catastrophes are extreme, but putting it in perspective of the span of time tempers that level of outrageous indignation over horrific events.

My initial reaction upon learning of the SUV speeding into the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin was that I didn’t want to go to any more parades ever again. But think about it. How many parades have happened without tragedy? Dare I say the answer could be innumerable parade celebrations?

There have been parade tragedies before this one and there will be parade tragedies in the future. There have been outrageous trial verdicts, civil wars, domestic abuse, and dictatorial oppression. All are an insult to our sensibilities. The empathic response is to recoil in shared pain for those suffering.

Tragedies are a reality in the world that we must always remember to offset with the realities of joy and blessings that simultaneously exist. At the instant injuries are occurring, witnesses and first responders lovingly react to nurse wounds and support the aggrieved.

There is more peace and love happening in the world at every given moment than can ever receive equal attention from every newsfeed and mass media outlet that jump on each tragedy-du-jour.

Based on the endless breaking news feeds, perception is not reality.

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Written by johnwhays

November 23, 2021 at 7:00 am

Rain Coming

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Looks like the morning will be a wet one for us. Weather radar indicates a decent-sized band of precipitation closing in on our location in Hayward, WI.

The blue marker that looks like it is pointing at Red Wing indicates our home, approximately between River Falls and Red Wing.

I’m ready to hunker down and be an indoor couch potato for a few hours. Cyndie wants to play the local version of Monopoly board game she found in town this week: Hayward-opoly. The properties are local businesses like our favorite Coop’s Pizza and West’s Dairy.

I’d rather find sports on the television. Aren’t there some Olympic games finishing up this weekend?

Before we know it, there will be a break in the clouds and everyone will hit the beach.

I will be plenty ready for that.

Did you notice there was a bird in that image above? I hadn’t noticed it when I was rushing to capture the sun rays as they changed by the second. After looking at it a few times on my computer screen, I wondered if it was actually an insect that was close to the phone instead of a magnificent high-soaring bird of prey up near the cloud.

Perception is everything.

Happy first Saturday in August everyone!

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Written by johnwhays

August 7, 2021 at 8:57 am

Speed Perception

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Did the year 2020 feel like it took a long time to transpire? Does it seem surprising that we are past the middle of March already? We all know that time passes slowly or quickly depending on how we consider it, despite the fact it ticks off at the same rate no matter what. It’s our perception that changes.

On my commutes, I find myself surprised by how easy it is to spot a car ahead that is traveling significantly slower than the rest of the traffic. It comes in handy for making lane changes well in advance of needing so to do. Spotting vehicles in my mirrors that are traveling much faster than I am usually provides a lot less time to react.

It is common knowledge that water takes longer to boil if you watch and wait for it to happen.

How fast is the impact of rising greenhouse gases on the earth’s climate? It is occurring right in front of our eyes. We are living it. The thing is, I remember hearing about this threat decades ago from explorer Will Steger‘s first-hand eyewitness accounts of changes in both polar regions of our planet. We know the ice is melting. We know weather events keep getting more intense.

Will climate change take longer to happen because we are watching it? I wish.

Yesterday, I had a meal inside a restaurant for the first time in a year. That was a long time in coming. So long that it exceeded my ability to perceive whether it felt like a long time, or not. It just felt strange.

Let’s hope we are racing at breakneck speed toward a post-pandemic world that includes less poverty, more equality, zero emissions, greater social justice, the end of food insecurities/homelessness/violence/hatred, and reaches record levels of love beaming throughout the world.

That’s something I’d really like to see coming up in my rearview mirror faster than I expected.

I wouldn’t need to get out of the way.

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Written by johnwhays

March 18, 2021 at 6:00 am

Love Lots

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My tendency is to downplay the import of special dates. That isn’t meant to detract from the days themselves, but to point out the benefit of celebrating the gist of each special day on every other day all year long. Our birthday marking a year passing could be celebrated every day because each day is a year beyond 365 days before.

Of all the days I should really adopt as deserving my attention, the day celebrating love should really be the primary one. At the same time, of all the special days assigned a particular day on the annual calendar, love is probably the one more appropriately distributed across all other days to the end of time.

February 14 is all red hearts and gushing over crushes. I’m all for doing that every other day just as much.

Grow your love today for yourself and others. In so many ways, there are no “others.” We are one.

We should behave as such.

Every day.

Love you!

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Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

The Value

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

January 28, 2021 at 7:00 am

Fading Clarity

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At the very same speed every day, twenty-four hours transpire. It’s our perceptions that produce the variable which makes time appear to pass slower or faster. I’ve described many times that I perceive my years of living in 20-year blocks. I’ve lived to twenty 3 times. For some reason, it is easier for me to process that perception than grasping that I have been alive for over sixty years. (61-and-seven-months at the time of this writing.)

It just doesn’t feel like sixty, except, never having been this old before, I wouldn’t really know how sixty is supposed to feel. The most tangible aspect of aging that I have experienced is my loss of perfect vision. Getting used to wearing glasses has been an arduous and frustrating adjustment for me.

Given lenses that offer a static level of correction for my continuously waning clarity, I add imperfect handling that constantly fails to keep them free of clouding smudges.

There is a benefit to my new norm of experiencing a fuzzy view. I don’t need to spend money on the latest and greatest high-resolution ultra-crisp display screens because they all look a little blurry to me anyway.

If I didn’t have a camera with auto-focus capability, I’d be sunk. Unfortunately, I now have a difficult time discerning whether the resulting images are worthy or not. Auto-focus is a far cry from flawless and I am now a weak judge of the resulting level of success.

Yesterday, we were out walking with Delilah at the moments of both the sunrise and the sunset. The morning was really cold and the wind-blown snow was mostly firm enough that our boots didn’t break through the crust. Delilah, being much lighter and trotting on four feet, had no problem staying on top.

In fact, we could see in her tracks that she was walking on her tippy toes to keep her pads from the stinging bite of the extreme cold.

I suspect that image could have benefitted from better focus.

I have a little more success with the long focus of vast landscapes. Sunset was a pleasure to experience and just enough warmer by that time of day that our urgency to get back inside was reduced.

Still, I perceive that image as falling short of my preference for a much snappier crispness.

There is an interesting dynamic in our house with regard to my slow decline from the glorious pinnacle of 20-20 vision and full reading-distance clarity, because, while this change is new to me, Cyndie has lived with blurry vision and corrective lenses her entire life.

It’s hard for me to ask for sympathy from her, although yesterday she admitted that she sees the difficulty I face since it’s a new adjustment for me that she has dealt with forever.

In the grand scheme of challenges we face in life, my learning to cope with fading clarity is a rather small one and almost universal for humankind. As the saying goes with all things aging-related: It beats the alternative.

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Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2021 at 10:32 am

Wandering Nonsensically

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In that moment, when the time had finally run out, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually prepared for the end. The end of the dream. The end of the song. The end of ideas that made any sense. The end of innocence.

One second later, everything else in the universe continued on as if nothing would ever end. Things just continue changing as much as they always have. Memories, merely snapshots holding certain aspects in suspended animation.

Inspiration absent motivation. Ideology of avoidance intent on grasping nondescript constructs. Vested interests in vast expanses of physical voids in intellectual realities.

Fruition that cannot be reached.

So, we drive on, in the offhand chance we might eventually reach an end, rarely recognizing how often we probably already have.

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Written by johnwhays

December 9, 2020 at 7:00 am