Day 9: I am grateful for vistas.
I first learned the word vista when I was 11 years old, in the sixth grade. We had some sort of reading program that had the word in its title, something about Beyond Vistas. For many years I remembered what the program was called, but now that I am doing something I never imagined–finally writing about it, it seems I have forgotten. What I do remember is that I found both the word and the concept enchanting.
I am pretty sure I learned the word vista before I ever saw one. Or, as it goes, noticed one. Vistas must be noticed, and in this way, they have a lot to do with awareness, with looking outward beyond the self. How interesting that this reading program, designed to educate young pre-teens, encouraged us to look beyond our self-centered worlds–to look at foreign ideas and concepts, to imagine and conceptualize in ways that began to develop our critical and analytical awareness. That reading program had lasting effects on me, but none stronger than the idea of the vista.
Vistas are Exhilarating
Today, whenever my husband and I travel together, one or the other of us points out “the vista.” Neither of us can recall the genesis of the discussion we had that initiated this practice so many years ago, but we continue to surprise each other to this day with new vistas, even when we’re both looking outward in different directions at the same time. Sometimes I am engaged in looking to my right when my husband points something out to his left, and for a second I will feel unfairly distracted…but he’s often seeing something I otherwise would have missed. My husband has the eye of an engineer, while my eye is more of that of a painter–we see the landscape differently, so it’s helpful and interesting to share the two perspectives. I have to say, though, as often as we have done this, he still sees angles, depth and numbers, while I still see color, shape and metaphor–at least until the other points something out. The same sort of thing happens when we work on decorating–my husband knows measurement and dimension, where I know texture and design.
The practice of appreciating vistas is something meditative, poetic, aesthetic, spiritual, and above all expansive. The world becomes larger when one allows oneself to enjoy a magnificent view.
Is regarding a vista something you do often, too? Can you think of a time you were awestruck by a beautiful landscape or seascape? Do you remember where you saw it, or how long it’s been since you last saw one?
The photo above overlooks the Rocky Mountains, taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. I hope you enjoy vistas as much as I do; or, if not, I hope you will start to enjoy them more. You don’t have to be anywhere exotic, really. Any beautiful view will do.
I am grateful for all of the beautiful vistas that can be seen all over the world.
© debra valentino, all rights reserved, Stumbler, www.firstlightofevening.com