Monday, May 14, 2012

Dog's eye view

I picked up a book at the airport bookstore called, Inside of a dog: What a dogs see, smell and know by Alexandra Horowitz. Though it's not all that ground-breaking, I'm a dog-lover, so reading it is fun. The first chapter talks about a dog's umwelt, and I have to say that it feels pretty pertinent my own experience of life right now.

The concept of unwelt as Horowitz explains it is basically that our world (and every living creatures world) can be understood through the lens of the viewer, be they deer tick, dog, sea urchin or human. That our perception and actions largely define the world each of us live in, our own 'soap bubbles' with us in the center. A blade of grass is a very different universe to us than it is to a tick, and not just because of scale.  We, the ticks, and every other animal dovetail into our environment: we are bombarded with stimuli, but only very few are meaningful to us.

Coming home after a long weekend in North Carolina, I'm stuck by how good it is to inhabit someone else's world for a little while. It makes you realize how much of your own universe is constructed by your own perception. And how if we choose to perceive differently, we can burst our own bubble. Or at least shift it slightly.

Throughout the weekend, I just kept being blown away by how beautiful their town is. How warm and friendly their friends are. How wholesome and healthy life seems in her small town. I mean, Jesus Christ, they have wild horses!!! And what was interesting was that by the end of the weekend Jenny had started to see her life a little through my eyes, and she began appreciating things that through habit had become invisible to her.

I'm looking forward to getting home and looking at my life with new eyes.

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