Simple and complex

A while ago, before I began following the Daily Post, the photo challenge suggested ‘simple’ as a theme. I was glad not to need to try that, as I can never see ‘simple’ without wondering if it is really.

Glass of water on the kitchen table

This is a glass of water, on my kitchen table.

Water – from the tap which is quite good tasting and certainly drinkable here, but I expect there are ‘things’ in it besides water. The Scottish Water Board or whoever they are now that everything is owned by some corporation registered somewhere in the some distant part of the world might be annoyed at this suggestion. H2O – not really simple! Scottish Water, not very simple either. Different meaning to simple there.

But when I, me, looks at this photo, I see the table. The photo can show grain in the wood, it’s an old table, how many other things have sat there? what tree grew and fell to make it? That’s not really what I see – for me there is the history of where and when I bought it (in a second hand shop up Causewayside, brought home in the boot, tailgate open, of the Honda, last car I owned) – settling in to here where I have now lived longer than anywhere else I have lived, why did I need a kitchen table…because my then just become ex got the other one…  all the people who have sat there since, Cindy writing her essays, Daowen teaching me chinese, … memories memories.

Who would know all that but me?

“Simple” or “complex” depends on the viewer as well as the view, does it not?

I got a phone call on Sunday, unexpected and delightful, from J my friend from New Zealand. She reads this blog, we email etc. but it is wonderful to hear her voice. We were chatting about the others we know and care about and some sadness at recent deaths, though these had been in old age. And we talked about the history of someone’s life, another person we both know. On the surface, a pleasant, quiet woman, maybe 80 already, maybe just getting there. But once you have talked with her a little, what a number of things have been in that life, and how many different experiences and places. This is my experience of everyone, young as well as old, once you start listening, the unique stories are there in layer upon layer of experience.

Just an egg…

Not simple at all – hugely interesting and complex, here is another photo pretty obviously  simple or complex depending on whether you are thinking outside or inside.

This notion of how anything can seem simple, or complex, depending on the way you happen to look, grew in my head because Sidey’s weekend theme this week in CONTRASTS. [I had been thinking of lots of stories from the sublime to the ridiculous, and not able to blog them as no matter how I looked they were embarrassing, to me or someone else. I am always wondering how to blog when anyone can look and read, and just love seeing how other people do it with such grace and/or humour that it works.]

One young person in my life at the moment is Paul, who was 7 years old last week, he and his mother share my flat, so I see him every day. In a short life he has been living on three different continents, he has experienced very different education systems and styles, he is bilingual, and he is well-adjusted, cheerful, likes football and swimming and in conversation will come up with all sorts of questions. He knows life is very interesting and varied. I think everyone does, even if they do not have the range of different experiences he has had. A first look says he is not-scottish, different, a second says he is like any 7 year old boy, a third he is lively and also ‘good’, aware of adults and well behaved, a fourth… well just look, listen, get to know.

However, not everyone seems to manage living with different experiences, and not everyone seems to experience difference happily, with interest. Contrast is a good theme – lets go for celebration of difference. Look for the inside or the outside, on the surface or under it, find stories hidden in the grain of the wood, use imagination and empathy, hurray for difference. Hurray for the contrasts we find everywhere.

[Doesn’t mean they are all easy to live with, or that some can’t be judged as NOT good at all, like the obscenes of poverty/wealth, destructive behaviour, … just look for the layers before judging… and what a lot of interesting stuff there is around.]






4 thoughts on “Simple and complex

    1. agreed – and by philosophers – if I remember what Occam’s razor means… Just goes to show that words are always interpretable in various ways – pictures too!


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