A Matter of Perspective

My wife and I were passing through Greeley Park a number of years back during a summer art fair. Painters, photographers, and home jewelers displayed their wares. This was back at a time when my then-employer continued to promise me an office. When I passed a small photograph that I absolutely loved and it was only $20, I decided to pick it up. It would be fantastic to put on my desk!

I set it on top of my desk at home with a few posters of New Hampshire (like the flume) where it sat for the next three years. It sat there when I got laid off. It sat there when I took a demotion to work for another company. It sat there when I moved laterally to secure a full time position that would in no way warrant me having an office.

We bought a townhouse and were setting up our home office much like we had before. But this time, a lot of the things we had put on top of the desk were being placed elsewhere. (We gave away a lot of stuff and had some extra space on bookshelves, etc.) Where oh where would I put this picture I love so much? My wife says, why don't we hang it?

*blink. blink.*

The photo is of a dead tree sticking out of the Nashua River. It looks black and white, but it's just a gray day without any color on the trees in the background. It's dark and misty. The water is this opaque force that came up around this tree on all sides and it was trapped there, helpless. (The picture is not online and I can't find the photographer's website because of a Brit with the same name sucking up the SEO [search engine optimization--a term you need to know as an aspiring author]). You've probably seen a tree like this before though, yeah? One that's growing in the middle of the river, and you can't figure out how it got there because it would have had to grow up out of the water and that only works for Aphrodite.)

I ask my wife if she's certain. She tells me yes, she likes that picture too. Really, says I? I would have thought it too dark for your tastes. Dark? says she. I find it to be a very hopeful photo.

*blink. blink.*

How is that hopeful? says I. It's a dead tree!

No, it's a tree that may bloom again. It stands for the hope of rebirth and what may come in the future.

No, it's a tree that had its time and is dead. It stands for the absolute inevitability of the future. We all die eventually.

So the picture hangs on the wall in my home office, meaning two entirely different things to two different people. That's pretty cool.