Picture this

There is more to most things than meets the eye. The painting below is beautiful, I think, and many would be very pleased to look at what meets the eye here. Click on the picture or the URL beneath the picture. Place your cursor on the picture that appears, click on the picture, and scroll across and you will see what I mean (scroll in both directions to see all that might meet the eye). By clicking on the URL you will be taken to a larger “view” of the painting.

Panoramic painting of a Chinese river scene during a festival.

Along the River During Qingming Festival

After Zhang Zheduan

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Along_the_River_7-119-3.jpg

 Education is about looking for things, about exploring, about poking about below the surface of things. You can see the redness of a cherry, but you cannot see its taste, that must be explored in other ways. As has been pointed out by many there is the scent of the rose and our memory of the scent of the rose; which is more vibrant, more intense? The reality is often less than we imagine it to be. We have all had the experience of returning to a place we remember warmly from an earlier period in our lives. The return visit more often than not fails to meet our expectations, to live up to our memories of it. This is more likely due to changes in us than to changes in the place. Learning is about exploring all facets of things, the memories vs. the realities, the surface of things and what lies just beneath, and then even deeper down. It is about searching for and exploring what is missed at first glance. The painting above illustrates this because it is too large to be absorbed or in any way “seen” in a single glance. It must be viewed in stages and time must be spent with each stage to fully appreciate what is present in the painting. When we read a book for the first time we are getting a glimpse of its surface. That is where we start, but there is much more to be seen. Many of the books we read this year you will read again as you progress through your education (if you indeed choose to progress through your education). They will live in new ways upon a second and third reading. When we read well we never read the same book twice even if we are reading a book we have read before. This year will be mostly about first impressions. But be aware that, like the painting above, there is much that is hidden that will not reveal itself to a first glance. And even what we see we will see differently as our experience adds additional colors of interpretation. Hopefully you will benefit from your first readings and first impressions, but even more hopefully you will return to these books as you grow in experience and insight and that this year will only be the beginning of some beautiful relationships with the written word.

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