The light changed, suffusing the clouds with a soft glow and shadowing the sky that strange half-light that heralds a storm. The rain, it seemed, had settled in, pattering against the window and drawing the eye to focus on the diamond streaks of misery. Yet, beyond the pane there was colour, molten gold flaming in the sky as the day drew to a close.
I picked up the camera, unwilling to get wet by going outside, but determined to capture at least one moment of the crepuscular display. The camera fastened its gaze firmly on the immediacy of the window pane and refused to look farther than its proverbial nose, consigning distant beauty to an indistinct netherworld beyond its focus.
I fiddled with the settings, desperate to circumvent the limitations of the camera, but to no avail. While I was doing so, the constant shifting of light and cloud meant that the opportunity to capture the moment was slipping away.
All I could see through the shortened lens was looming patches of darkness against consuming fire. The rain restricted the perception of the lens, not only erasing detail but transforming it into an uneasy vista of threatening possibilities. Yet it only took a flicker of the eye to look beyond the lens and see a different landscape that sent me outside, regardless of the rain.
It occurred to me that I recognised the pattern all too well. I had to ask myself, “Where do you focus? On the rain on the pane or the vista beyond?” and realised that, all too often, the instinctive reaction is to focus on the pain on the pane.
As soon as a problem comes into our lives, real or perceived, our focus shifts and offers exclusivity to whatever it is that has caught our attention. We get so caught up in that focus that we no longer see what might be waiting beyond our gaze. Instinct is a pessimist and sees only uncomfortable consequences and possible horrors.
We give our attention to the problem and, in our attempts to solve it, waste so much time and energy that we may miss the obvious solution. We may miss the moment too, when the perfect opportunity slides by unseen in the distance… or, even worse, refuse its gifts for fear of what might happen if we pursue it.
There is always a bigger picture beyond our immediate horizon. With every step forward that we take into the ocean of unseen possibilities, we expand that horizon, even though we may well end up getting wet. We may not be able to see far enough to know whether what lies ahead will be stormy seas or a limpid lake, but unless we make a move, we will never find out and the moment will be forever gone, leaving us behind on the shores of our own trepidation.
Barefoot, I left the window to brave the rain and watch the dying light gild my little corner of the world. Caught in the magic, drops of liquid light fell to earth, caressing my skin and drawing me in, making me feel part of the moment, not merely an isolated observer. Sometimes, it is worth having wet feet.