Read - Seeing What Isn't There

Waterfalls and misperceptions 

Every week in Greece we visit the waterfalls.  It’s such a great way to start the day.  We leave between 7.30am and 8am (it’s by far the earliest thing that we do all week), depending on the season.  The point is to get there so that we can have it to ourselves to sit quietly and to feel our way and to drink in our experience.  It’s not to say that that’s not possible when other people are around, but there’s something really special about being there early where the only sounds are the running of the water and the chorus of the frogs.

The falls vary depending on the time of year, too.  In May it’s always a good strong fall and when we come back in September after the hot and dry summer there’s an enthusiastic trickle - it’s enough!  I love the rocks and the tenacity of the greenery that grows from them.  It’s a higgledy piggedly affair getting to it.  It’s Greek health and safety at its most typical - well-meaning but not quite hitting the spot.  So everyone is cautioned to take care and to go no further than feels safe for them.  It’s all about the journey and not the destination, after all..

This morning we went off to the waterfalls.  It’s our first week of the September season so we are in ‘enthusiastic trickle’ territory.  We all found a spot and sat and soaked it up.  It’s amazing what an effect the waterfalls have on people.  It can be a place to shed tears, some do.  Not because they’re so spectacular, I don’t think, it just seems like an appropriate place to let go of stuff.  It doesn’t need naming, tears just come.  For some people it’s an opportunity to get into the water.  It’s bloody freezing, mind but the water babies love it all the same.  Some folk just sit and do their thing, others wander a little looking for toads and crabs.  I never fail to come away from there feeling as though it’s a really good way to start my day.

As we were making our way back today there was a woman coming over the rocks who was videoing as she walked.  I became riled.  I muttered under my breath to the person who was with me something about her missing the experience because her head was in her phone.  Anyway, she waltzed past us and in no time at all had made it to the waterfalls, was there for a cursory moment and was heading back, overtaking us.  What’s the point?  I was thinking.  Why not just look it up on youtube instead, I’m sure someone else must have videoed it already.  We continued walking back and about then a few minutes later I saw said lady showing the video to two older people, possibly her parents (I will resist making further assumptions!  It seemed (I could be wrong) that they had gone as far as they could and she was showing them what there was to see along the rest of the way.  

I felt like such a doughnut - momentarily.  It’s so easy to judge folk when we don’t have the full picture, and what business is it of mine whether someone comes and ‘drinks in the experience’ or not?  

It's zero business of mine.

How many times do we leap to a conclusion about something or somebody without knowing the full picture.  And can we ever really get the full picture?  There are always shades and tones of a situation that we’ll never have access to.  But what I can do is to start where I am and have the intention to see further than the end of my nose and accept that what I think I see isn’t necessarily the full story and to give people the benefit of the doubt (for doubt read my judging commentary!).

I had totally misinterpreted the picture.  This, just days after our mindful walk where we’d spoken about how every single situation in and of itself is just what it is and that our interpretation of it is what makes us suffer.  I could have condemned myself for being a hypocrite but I’m (mostly) past that.  I can accept that I am a flawed human being who gets it wrong.  That I don’t always practice what I preach and that I have a whole world of preconceptions and opinions and biases that I may never ever get to the bottom of and that may colour the rest of my life.  I don’t have to create further angst for myself by giving myself a hard time about a misconception.  Maybe next time I will not be so quick to judge.  


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