A picture is worth a thousand words.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
It is often difficult to find the words needed to capture a feeling, an image, an experience. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible. Pictures, then, feel like a real time saver. Uh, don’t try to visualize what I’m describing, just see for yourself!
Time savers, even really valuable ones, tend to gloss over some important qualities, though. For example, I love my iPod. I love listening to a huge variety of music on a tiny little device that weighs next to nothing. But the sound quality is nothing compared to a good set of speakers. Good speakers playing digital recordings don’t capture all the detail that vinyl does. Even vinyl records are nowhere as powerful as a live performance that moves the sound waves straight through your bones.
And so it goes. My iPod is not a substitute for a concert. But what if I didn’t know that? What if I only ever experienced music as played through ear buds that can insert a melody into my brain, but is removed from the visual, sensual and emotional experience of real, breathing people making music? I couldn’t be sad if I didn’t know I what I was missing out on. I’d just be…less.
Often what we gain in efficiency is lost in subtlety, and the subtle is what I’m interested in. No one loads commercials and jingles on their iPods – yet we often don’t listen to an entire album, or read a whole book. The journey is too time consuming. Just get to the destination NOW.
Words and pictures sometimes combine into an experience that is far greater than the sum of its parts. So what if it takes a thousand words to fully describe a picture. Those words don’t just explain the image, they provide a window into the psyche of the speaker. The window might be on the level of intellect, or emotion. Or, when the stars are aligned just right, you might even catch a glimpse of soul shining through the Venetian blinds.
I started this post yesterday as I was trying to put words to my feelings about words (the redundancy slays me!) and how I feel (!) like they are worth figuring out, even if a photo is more efficient. Something keeps compelling me to put words on my jewelry and pictures on my blogs. To caption photos and doodle in the margins. But I wasn’t getting anywhere with writing.
Then the book I’d recently ordered arrived, and I was completely absorbed by how artfully the words and images were put together.
A journey of a thousand words might begin with a single image. It is nothing more than our search for art, for meaning, in what we experience. As Vanda so eloquently wrote:
“Beauty is not only in the spectacular glow of a sunset, in the delightful face of a child, in the incredible structure of a flower, in the joy of bright colors, in the shape of a sculpture, in the words of a poem, in the voice of a song, in the notes of a symphony. There is beauty also in the acknowledgement and expression of a feeling, in the logical process of thinking, in the discovery of a truth, in the realization of harmony, in the astonishment arising from observing the perfection with which a tree or a plant is put together. “
Wordpress tells me this blog post is just over 600 words – not deep enough to penetrate the soul, but hopefully less vapid than the click-bait on Facebook. My goals are humble. And this flower is astonishing.