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Closer look

published: 2009-08-18

A calender on the wall. There’s nothing really special about it. It shows the month of February which is an image of a path disappearing into a field’s horizon. The skies above it are grey and misty. I noticed there are dots on the photo, braille. These dots probably state what the words beneath the picture say:
“Smell is important to me. When I sit in a church, I can smell the past. Nature has such beautiful smells. When night becomes day.”
A calender in braille, is what I concluded. And didn’t give it a second thought.
But just now, I took the calender off the wall as I was curious to know whether I would ever be able to read braille. Impossible. Even my knowing what the dots are supposed to say is of no help. I wanted to flip to August, expecting to see that same path but then in bright oranges and reds. Perhaps some flowers. This is when I discovered there’s an extra slip of paper separates February from the rest.
“Monique Besten sees for Jacqueline van Haperen.”
Monique Besten is the artist I’m subletting office space from. Next, I read the cover. It explains how 12 blind people have been asked what they would dream of seeing. Dutch photographers transformed these wishes into images.
Suddenly the calender has taken on an entirely different, more profound, meaning to me. One final closer look reveals that February’s dream does not stop “when night becomes day.” In actual fact, there’s a comma after “day” and the rest of this blind woman’s vision continues on the next page. In its entirety it reads:
“Smell is important to me. When I sit in a church. Nature has such beautiful smells. When night becomes day, when those sad colours change from grey to soft pinks, to orange, to red, this to me is the most beautifiul time of day.”
It goes to show just how important it is we make an effort to see the entire picture of things. And not simply accept what we think we’re seeing.

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