Tuesday, May 26, 2020

On seeing things.................

     The science of anything may be taught or acquired by study; the art of it comes by practice or inspiration.  The art of seeing things is not something that may be conveyed in rules and precepts; it is a matter vital in the eye and ear, yea, in the mind and soul, of which these are the organs.  I have as little hope of being able to tell the reader how to see things as I would have in trying to tell him how to fall in love or to enjoy his dinner.  Either he does or he does not, and that is about all there is to it.  Some people seem born with eyes in their heads, and other with buttons or painted marbles, and no amount of science can make the one equal to the other in the art of seeing things.  The great mass of mankind are, in this respect, like the rank and file of any army; they fire vaguely in the direction of the enemy, and if they hit, it is more a matter of chance than of accurate aim.  But here and there is the keen-eyed observer;  he is the sharpshooter; his eye selects and discriminates; his purpose goes to the mark.

-John Burroughs,  from his essay The Art of Seeing Things

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