A different perspective


Yesterday, my shady front yard sported green grass that, while not lush by any means, still offered a cushy blanket over the soil. Today, that grass has new residents — a bountiful supply of mushrooms. Some are already ripped unceremoniously from the soil, no doubt by deer passing by en route to more tasty hyacinths, hostas, and such.

Still, a good number continue to stand tall (for a mushroom, that is). I find them to be unique and different, with an alien beauty of their own.

So I got down and dirty, and a little wet, just to photograph these beautiful wild things from an angle most of us never see. Especially if you’re past the age of, oh, childhood, a time of life when it’s much easier and fun to wallow in the dirt and grass.

As I knelt there, wondering how I’d get back up without scaring the neighbors into calling 911, I realized that trying on new perspectives isn’t always fun nor particularly easy. Not much wonder we so often resist doing it at all. I started out this morning trying to take photos of my mushroom visitors from my normal perspective — high above them. I daresay that’s the perspective of most humans. It wasn’t until I risked grass stains on my clothes to burrow down for an Alice-in-Wonderland view on the mushroom’s own level that my perspective actually changed. And there, my new perspective flung open the doors to an amazing new world of ideas and associations, insights and concepts.

It’s a bit like falling down the rabbit hole into wonderland, a la Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There, she encounters a blue caterpillar sitting atop a mushroom. Alice explains her identity crisis (“..at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then”). The caterpillar merely explains that one side of the mushroom makes her smaller while the other makes her taller. She experiments, shrinking smaller than ever and sprouting up into the treetops. With some trial and error, she manages to regulate her size.

Alice’s perspective-bending adventures with a host of anthropomorphic creatures twist logic and open new doors. Regardless, when she emerges from Wonderland, Alice’s perspectives have been forever changed.  As Wayne Dyer says, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Just as Alice’s mushroom (well, OK, the caterpillar with some help from the mushroom) helped to change her perspectives, so my front-yard mushroom helps me look a little differently at my world. It makes me appreciate differences. Many gardeners would work tirelessly to rid their lawns of visiting mushrooms, deeming them unsightly, ugly, otherwise unwelcome. But me? I find their strangeness a reminder that there is beauty in everything, for those with eyes — or perspectives — to see it.

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