Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Silhouette Bay

I have this picture in my house.  This piece was created by the Australian born artist Pete Tillack.  Please take time to see his other incredible work at http://www.petetillack.com/index.html It is an amazing piece of art.  I think it is one of the best I have ever seen.  How do I know this?  How can I define it as “the best”?  Because I cannot tell you what it looks like.  In order to describe anything besides the fact that it uses a very nice shade of blue and has a water scene, I need this picture directly in front of me.  Otherwise, I cannot tell you anything about the picture.  Yet, every time I see it, I am awed by the beauty it captures.

And no, this picture is not new to my home.  I was in love with it from the moment I first saw it at an art walk in Little Italy in 2009.  After we purchased it, I spent evenings dancing to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” with my daughters beneath this picture.  When we moved to our new house, I picked the shade of blue paint on my walls just to match this painting and devoted an entire wall to paint an area especially designed to frame “Silhouette Bay”.  I have spent hours and hours looking at this painting.  Yet, when I step away from it, I cannot begin to tell you what is in this picture besides water and calming blue paint.

Still, every time I see it I feel a slight sense of recognition and an amazing awe over its beauty.  For me, that explains why I feel it is the most beautiful picture ever created.  To see something for the first time every time and still have it strike me as magically beautiful is a true definition of beauty.  I no longer have a visual memory.  I cannot hold details of images within my mind.  Maybe it is linked to prosopagnosia.  Maybe it is something deeper within my brain.  Regardless, I am fortunate to have my daughters’ beautiful smiles to see each day.  I consider myself lucky to continually discover the splendor view of the mountains we live near.  I am forever grateful for the unexpected sights of beauty that capture my attention on a daily basis.

I see all of these images as if for the first time every time I see them.  For this reason, I am blessed to be surrounded by such amazing pictures that no longer can hold 1,000 words for me.  Rather, with each time I see this picture, a child’s smile or the snow-capped mountains, I am filled with a thrill that amazing beauty can exist so close to me.  No, pictures no longer can tell a story I will later recall, but I am fortunate that each time I see the beautiful things surrounding me I can observe, with new-found delight, the beauty which they possess.

Comments on: "Pictures No Longer Worth 1,000 Words" (6)

  1. You paint a beautiful picture of the complexity and adaptability of learning and the human brain. In 40 years of work in higher education, I have excountered many who would say you couldn’t possibly know the picture because you can’t describe the nuasances of it. But you exhibit a far deeper understanding of the picture than most of those who could describe the minute details of it.When will we learn that we are are all different and that each of us learn differently.
    It reminds of the folk music show I saw on public TV last night. One of the songs featured was Bob Dylan’s classic, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” preformed by the Chad Mitchell Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary: “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” ..THe answer according to Dylan’s song is “Blowing in the Wind.” What did Dylan mean by the questions and answer in this song., In Dylan’s own words, he said, “There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind—and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some …But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know ”
    We who see things differently need to be ready to pick up your answers because you are offering us a vision of reality that we might not otherwise see.
    Your piece also reminds me of a recent piece in the Chronicle of HIgher Education, that complained about Gratitude in Academe. The author essesentially said that we needed to throw gratitude out of the academy. Gratitude breeds satisfaction; satisfaction breeds compliancy; and compliancy breeds the status quo. To have advancement in the academy,we must be negative. I want to yell that it doesn’t have to be that way. Ingratitude and the resolve to advance are not necessarily corequisites. Just ask the ice bound sailors of the HMS Resolute, who were grateful to be alive and had the resolve to continue living.
    In your writing, I see a gratefulness for what you have, a resolve to continue living life to its fulness, and not an ingratitude over what you don’t have, You are a model for all of us. Stick with your hope, “the answer is blowing in the wind.”

    • I can only imagine the wonderful things that you have seen and helped create in your 40 years of experience in working with higher education. Lucky for me, I have always been good with language skills. Math was a struggle.

      I hope someday we find all of the answers we seek. Until then, I guess we must keep looking towards the wind. You and Bob Dylan are correct, “the answers are blowing in the wind”!


  2. Hi Tara
    I had a look at the Pete Tillack website and watched the Youtube clip. I liked it thank you for sharing your knowledge. It is interesting that often Australian talent is better known internationally than at home. I understand what you mean about his pictures. You can just keep on looking at them and keep on finding that quite place within yourself.
    Sincerely Anne

    • Anne,
      I am glad you had a chance to look at his website. His work is amazing! I am happy, too, that you have found some home grown talent. It is a wonder they are not better known over there. Why do you think that may be?


  3. Tara, in some of the circles in which I travel, many would describe you as *much* luckier than us – to be able to see anew each and every time, that quality is nearly revered by many I know. Granted, the gift can also be problematic in daily life – I by no means intend to minimize the difficulties you encounter as a result of your loss of visual memory. Still, to have fresh perspective every singe day – wow. There is always an upside to every downside. 🙂


  4. Stef,

    Conditions such as this do come with difficulty; however, I will have to agree with these circles you travel in. In many ways, I am lucky to have this opportunity.

    Yes, I am aware I miss a lot. Still, there are many negative things I do not hold onto and many more positive things I am take the extra time to become aware of and enjoy even if for only a passing moment….


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