As I sat reading Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane this afternoon, the day after completing my sketch, this passage made me smile as I remembered the same tree that I drew just yesterday -- the sway, the creak, and the purple sky made me wonder if he wrote it just for me:
I sat on my bed, and stared out of the window.
My bed was pushed up hard against the wall just below the window. I loved to sleep with the window open. Rainy nights were best of all: I would open the window and put my head on my pillow and close my eyes and feel the wind on my face and listen to the trees sway and creak. There would be raindrops blown onto my face, too, if I was lucky, and I would imagine that I was in my boat on the ocean and that it was swaying with the swell of the sea. I did not imagine that I was a pirate, or that I was going anywhere. I was just on my boat.
But now it was not raining, and it was not night. All I could see through the window were trees, and clouds, and the distant purple of the horizon.
How many times had I fallen asleep with that singular view from my bedroom window? Since moving to Singapore six years ago, we have lived in three homes; before that, Michael and I had bought and sold two houses and lived in four; if I think of every home I’ve lived in, certainly my childhood home gave me that singular view the longest.
My perspective from that window was always of a tree that would dance, scraping its nails in, oddly, the most soothing way, against my window. When it was cold outside, the candle for the Christmas season would warm one side of the glass while frost would creep up the other side. Snuggled in my bed, I had a view of the world that nobody else had.
I’d imagine that my view of the world was so far above that I was looking at the earth in the sky instead of the moon. If could gain that perspective on my life, I could remove myself enough to see the challenges from afar.
I often tell my students to climb their metaphorical tree for that perspective; if they can see their problems from that higher view, they can be outside of them and removed enough to see things more clearly, more objectively. Sometimes the shift in perspective is all we need.
With that new perspective, we see things that sometimes can be more magical than the reality we perceive.