Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Passer-By Method

"The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
-Marcel Proust

Our Christmas tree is enchanting: brilliant blooms of rainbow light, and here and there a suspended memento of old times, in the shape of a ceramic snowman or a glass reindeer.
I have, however, paid endless homage to the tree since its recent retrieval from the cupboard, seeing it as I do for weeks on end. Each year its sparkle and glow seems to fade into the background, its very appearance becoming almost commonplace after a while, and this season was no exception.
That would not do at all, I suddenly said to myself the other day; so I fetched my heavy jacket, stepped outside, crunched through the unbroken snow to the back porch, and looked into my own kitchen as a sort of very unusual passer-by.
It worked wonders. I viewed the tree from afar, as a cold, colour-starved outsider in a drab December scene.
I was drawn to admire its decorative qualities and fine attire of baubles and tinsel, and was thoroughly struck by how much I should like to have such a tree, by the fact that it was my very own and by the regrettable truth that in recent days I had hardly paused to glance at it.
I highly recommend the passer-by method of seeing one's own life; but in such snow-shrouded times a thick layer of clothing is advised.


Pappy said...

We took the tree down today and I miss it already. I enjoyed its colorful glow when in the dark of early morning I turned it on prior to making my coffee. Now the shudders seem bleak and the floor space empty. I'm thinking of some colorful lights for the backyard as a year round effect. Pappy

Pauline said...

I love looking at my little cottage with an inquisitive stranger's eyes. In fact, looking at anything from a new perspective changes everything, doesn't it? Lovely thought-provoking post, as usual.

julochka said...

what a marvelous idea! you always make me think and see the world anew. the russian formalists called it "ostranannije"--"making strange," but meant it in a good way. :-)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, I don't want to take the tree down at all. It only takes a day or two to get used to not having it around but it's still nicer not to have to dismantle it... I might leave it up for a while longer.

Pauline, it is definitely about perspective. I used to do it too with the house we owned in Texas, a brand new place that still smelled of paint and I would come in sometimes and think how nice, and then be glad that it was ours. I can't do it now, though, because it really isn't ours anymore...

Julie, I love the phrase "strange, but in a good way." Nothing bad has ever, ever come from those words :)
I didn't even know there was a name for what I did. I thought it was some sort of disorder ;) Just joking. But still, when you're looking in your own windows, you do tend to wonder what the neighbours think!

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