|A Little Dollop of Frog|
The term landscape has many uses. Landscape can mean a wide open view of scenery. It can be used to mean a painting of a particular scene. Landscape can refer to the orientation of a writing or painting surface. It's how some people busy themselves in their yards (not something I'm likely to do.) The term can even be applied to intangible things; an extensive mental view, outlook or prospect. It's a very flexible word.
Stretching the meaning of landscape maybe a little more, I like to apply it not only to the physical qualities of a geographic area, but I'll also include the living things that inhabit it, the climate and other things that influence it, and experiences had there. A landscape can even include time.
The kind of experiences I mean are like gifts. The kind of things that change thinking and modify behavior, whether in subtle or dramatic ways. You have to be patient with these gift experiences, if you want them. They come on their own terms. They are most often unexpected and even unimagined. You will not have them if you never venture into the wider landscape. They cannot be artificially induced. To try that would be to change them from gifts into exploitation.
In future posts I'll try to explore the influence landscape and experiences there can have on those who allow place within themselves for it.
I've had experiences so unusual and so unexpected that relating them to others sometimes seems to just cause skepticism. Some have even asked what I've been smoking, or if I've been nibbling certain mushrooms, or licking toads! But this time, I have pictures!
Hiking up a desert canyon with my painting gear one day, I came to a series of small pools. Some of these pools are interconnected by a very small stream. Several of these pools had many different kinds of tadpoles, which varied in size from about 3/8" to over 3" long. Stuck to the rocks and ledges here and there around the pools were small frogs, around 2" long. They seemed quite common in this little area. Frogs in the desert is a strange enough thing, but there's something even more surprising about these frogs. They are silver! Their pale, silvery complexion shows up brightly when the frogs swim through the water, but they still seem to know how to disappear when they want to. The little silver frogs seemed to like sitting out in the desert sun in the bottom of this canyon, their feet tucked underneath them.
I amused myself with questions like: If I had continued further up canyon, might I have come across golden frogs? Or platinum ones? Are they really little space aliens staging in preparation for an invasion of the rest of planet Earth?
But experiences like this really do get the mind working. Why are things different here? What kind of clues do these kinds of experiences provide? How are they connected with the way Earth and the rest of the universe work? How do these things affect the way I think, and problem solve? The answers usually come slowly. I'm still waiting for some. The effects of the questions, I suspect, influence me long before the answers do.