Nothing There

My third grade teacher told me to take time to look around.  He suggested we look at our shoes, at the edges of windows where the dust was thick, at the middle of a blank wall.  Just look, he said, because you never know. Something in me clunked deep on that one.  It felt like he was saying he agreed with something that only I had ever thought of.

One of my favorite books growing up was Sherlock Holmes:  the criminal found by the pattern of ash droppings from his cigar, etc.  In medicine, seeing what is right in front of me and believing it took years of practice, but listening and looking (in that order) are by far the best tests available to me and the most cost efficient.

I walked past this tangle and saw nothing and so I took a picture to prove it.

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5 Responses to Nothing There

  1. i love that you remember something your third grade teacher said….. i taught school for thirty four years…. for a while, every year, i started class by having all of the students walk to the windows and just silently look outside at the busy philadelphia street. a whole long muddle of them would line up by the open window ( after all i taught in an urban school and class size was always thirty-plus and there was no air conditioning in the sweltering september heat.) we’d stay like that for a very long time.. twenty minutes or more in silence… then i’d have them return to their seats still silent, and write what they had seen…. we would end that class just by reading aloud what each students had written. what always astonished all of us was how different each description of the same scene was – different in what they saw, different in how they wrote it — lists, songs, concrete detailed description, narratives. some focused on sounds, some on colors and shaped, others on movement, some on objects, others on emotions of the passers-by. i love this piece. i love all of the many “nothings” each of us will see in your photograph.

    • stephenarcher says:

      That is a great story Marsha. Thank you. It spills over in to everything really. Two people looking right at each other, at their lives, thinking they know what the other person must be seeing. We don’t have a clue. We all make up our entire realities. It is fiction, all of it, which is fun really, and weird.

  2. Bobbi says:

    Costs nothing to listen, so true…

    XO
    B

  3. Barbara says:

    I gave a framed photo almost exactly like this, to my neighbor kid across the street (a 5), who loved it.
    His mother was amazed that I could know her kid would like this particular photo. It would have taken too long to explain how I knew he would like it………

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