Different direction, different perspective
On the Bright Side
September 17, 2022
If I was doing an out and back hike (as opposed to a circular trail), I learned long ago that even when you take the same path back, when you're going in a different direction the same scenery changes. I got into the habit of looking over my shoulder now and again, especially at forks in the trails, to see what the scenery would look like on my way back. I firmly believe that habit kept me from getting lost on some occasions or, at the very least, momentarily confused on others.
When I'm in my car, I know the same thing is true – things look different even on the same road when you're going in the opposite direction. Driving through the desert, like on the 395, whether the mountains are on your left going north or your right going south, things look a little different. And it's especially important to pay attention if you're driving off road in the desert, less so if you're on well-marked roadways.
I'm surprised, sometimes, like driving out in Cowboy Country, on Cal-Bodfish Road, going from Caliente to Twin Oaks I never see a certain old shack, but when I drive back the same road, I always spot it right away. When driving on Willow-Springs road away from Tehachapi I can't spot a certain rock formation that I always notice when I'm coming back toward Tehachapi.
There are many examples I'm sure we all have of the same phenomenon. I also know many of us like to travel out one way and back a different way, just to see different things, but I always remind myself that when I have to take the same road back, there are indeed going to be new things to see.
I also like to remind myself that this sort of thing is true when I'm shooting pictures with my camera. Sometimes I take what I think is a great shot, but then I move a couple of feet to the right or left and I get a totally different perspective, and I take an even better shot. Sometimes I don't move to the right or left but I'll move up (standing taller or climbing on something) or bend over (lowering my point of view) and I get a different (sometimes better) picture. Same focal point but taken from a slightly different point of origin can make a world of difference.
I'm also trying to apply that knowledge about that phenomenon in my everyday life, whether on a trail or a road or just sitting and talking to friends. Instead of looking at visual sights, I'm trying to look at ideas and philosophies and experiences – my own and those of other people – from a slightly different perspective. I see things differently when I'm looking at something someone says from different angles, stepping out of my comfort zone and trying on new ways to think about things.
It isn't always as easy as knowing the scenery will be different when I'm on the same road going in a different direction, but it's fun (and sometimes helpful) to try and put my mind in a different place to experience some of those ethereal and non-material things in a new way.
Meanwhile, I'll just keep on thoroughly enjoying days like those times when I turned east from the 14 to go to Ridgecrest, and then later came back toward the 14 on the 395 – what a different view I got of the mountains! So many times I enjoy seeing what's on the road from another direction.
And I'll try to keep remembering that when a friend tells me something, I can try to hear about it from her perspective instead of only paying attention to my own – I can come at it from a different direction, so to speak. When someone does something I don't approve of, I can try harder to keep from judging and instead try to see it from their standpoint (or, from their direction).
I can try to see and understand a lot more by acknowledging the fact that seeing things from a different point of view can enhance my own experience and understanding, and that always sounds like a good goal to me.
© 2022 Mel White/Mel Makaw. Mel, Tehachapi writer/photographer, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996, She welcomes your comments at email@example.com.