Seek and ye shall (usually) find (HLD 387)

15 April 2021

One of my friends has a quirky holiday tradition. To be honest I don’t really know how or why it started, but it’s been a feature of a lot of her travels over the past few years.

She takes a shovel with her on holidays (as you do), and takes photos of the scenery she encounters, with the shovel appearing in the photo somewhere, and challenges her friends to find it.

Speaking for myself, I often get distracted from what the photo is actually of, looking for the hidden shovel. Sometimes the shovel is quite easy to locate, but sometimes even with zooming in on the photo, I can’t find it. She will eventually post edited photos with the location of the shovel circled. And occasionally, even with that evidence, it’s a mystery to me.

For years we had a book in our bookcase filled with those strange blurry images that apparently, if you are clever enough, you can see the other hidden image. I suspect that book is no longer in our bookcase, because I could never see the hidden images. And I’m generally in charge of what books get donated to charity.

My husband was forever saying to me “Just squint and then move your eyes around and you will see it”. Honestly, I could have squinted, stood on my head and juggled oranges at the same time, but I still wouldn’t have seen it.

My big contribution to your brain today, is the difference between the words SEE and SEEK.

When my kids were little, as the only human female in the house, I often responded to one of the three males telling me they couldn’t find something, with the question “Did you have a girls look?”. And yes, before you wind up and start lecturing, I am fully aware that such gender based theories are woefully out of place in today’s world. Got it. Now go find the unopened bottle of sauce in the pantry.

A ‘boys look’ for something is a SEE. They opened the pantry, they looked at what was on display, and there was no unopened bottle of sauce. A ‘girls look’ is a SEEK. This person believes that there is an unopened bottle of sauce in the pantry, and so she moves things around, looking behind things, on top of things, and even under things, until she finds the unopened bottle of sauce.

Seeking requires movement, investigation, and a bit of thought. Like finding the shovel in Joanna’s holiday photos – I generally don’t see it straight away. I have to zoom in, have a bit of a think, move the unopened sauce bottle maybe, and then I find it.

It just doesn’t happen with those 3D blurry image photo books. No amount of ‘girls look’s help me with those.

Oh, and one last ‘seek’ thought. I read a quote from a professional photographer once who said that, when framing up what you think is going to be a good photo – turn and look around you. Often a better photo is right behind you. This is especially true with sunsets, and the ‘behind you’ image of the setting sun lighting up people’s faces. You could just see the sunset, but – lovely as they are – there may be something better if you just seek.

I’m off to rearrange the pantry. I’m fairly sure there’s an unopened bottle of sauce in the somewhere.

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