This afternoon I watched the snow fall through a large window. A bare maple tree is right outside this window, and it looked clear as a bell, the snow resting on it’s branches adding outlines and emphasis. And in the far ground past the end of the driveway, the tangle of tall trees made a pattern, again, a clear picture that held still for me. But between the two, between the clear foreground and the clear background, all I could see was the movement of flakes falling. The movement was nice, but I couldn’t focus on it or it would confuse my eyes.
This made me think of what the esteemed theater director Anne Bogart wrote:
“Middle distance creates a kind of buzz. A blur. The Fox News Channel, for example, and even CNN, produces an annoying buzz that makes it hard to hear, see, or think in a differentiated manner. Middle distance ambushes your perceptions.
As an antidote to the buzz, listen below the buzz. Move in close. Then, alternatively, make distance from whatever issue you are grappling with. . . Because it makes everything seem vague and general, the buzz, the middle distance, leads to inaction. Engagement from the middle distance feels futile. But when you lean in or reposition yourself by changing your distance and posture, the movement itself helps to clarify issues.”