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Summer mid 1960’s.
The Red Blossoms were visible as soon as we crested a rolling hill in the North Dakota countryside. A summer road trip meandering cross country after visiting a Hesseltine in-law at her retirement home in the Black Hills.
I was not driving and in a meditative mood, watching the rolling landscape pass by. As is often my habit I took off my glasses, creating an impressionistic view of the landscape as we sailed through.
I watched the beautiful countryside slightly unfocused. Then the blossoms! A few hundred feet ahead on a hillside on my right, gorgeous bright red spots scattered about. What a joy! The sharp points contrasting with the mellow embracing patchwork of many shades of greens was very affecting.
I slipped my glasses on… what were these? poppies? anemones? Coca Cola cans! My joy began wrestling with my indignation then yielded to amusement. But what I learned about myself and the power of incomplete perception–the phenomenologically ambiguous–that was gorgeous.
[i] Mika Koivisto, Enni Jalava, Lina Kuusisto, Henry Railo, Simone Grassini (2022) Top-Down Processing and Nature Connectedness Predict Psychological and Physiological Effects of Nature. Environment and Behavior. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00139165221107535 (cut and paste URL into Browser)