21 March 2016

Field Trip!

Field Trip!

Ever been on a field trip? For kids and adults (and especially for teachers, bus drivers and chaperones), the excitement of escape can't be beat. It's a special gift, a day away from ordinary routines of work or instruction...sometimes even permission to "misbehave," to experience worlds undiscovered in ways that may seem new.

In a new environment the senses are stimulated by the curiosity we all share for the unknown. Adults who have long been narrowcast into the ruts of a singular interest in sports, politics, etc. or just the basics of day-to-day survival are stimulated by a sense of wonder tinged occasionally by a fear of danger, too. Children may be released for a moment from the distractions of classroom politics--maybe even those of their cell phones--to interact with peers and instructors in ways that promote learning.

Nothing online can duplicate the joy of the outdoors. Even the best video or audio experience available is not a substitute for the jolt of reality delivered by having all of the senses involved at once. Being online in 2016 is like being at a fancy museum, where you're told not to touch the pictures--everything is to be admired, but at a distance. The only approximate experience is that of gaming. Gaming, however, is usually anticipated as fantasy and perceived as a series of journeys into worlds either not found on earth or found only in another era.

Fantasy can be a learning tool. It is instantly engaging and a wonderful distraction from the pain of everyday life. Politicians know how to use fantasy as distraction. They tell us the stories we want to hear. Gamers engage us in worlds we want to experience, worlds where heros control outcomes.

Seeing the world of reality as a place where our influence is uncertain and the outcome is not under our control is scary. Let's face it. Reality is frightening for all of us. Hopefully, we wake from fantasy to a real world that is sometimes less frightening than we imagine in our dreams.

Street View offers us the opportunity to observe outcomes. Some outcomes will escape our detective abilities, and what we do see will be observed through our life experience. No two of us will see the same picture.

The photo below illustrates nothing, or it illustrates the points made above. It's your choice. "Right" answers are those that respond to the questions you ask yourself.

Google Street View
Seen here is a beautiful "mackeral" sky. Altocumulus and stratus cloud types predominate with perhaps a cirrus deck above all.

That may be, but the focus is obviously(?) on the trees. By their size and autumn color passing motorists can identify the species. They're Sugar Maples, Acer something-or-other (Look it up later).

Interesting, but their uniform age and isolation would indicate they were part of a human-designed landscape. Those trees reveal not just their history, but are clues to the evolution of this region. Planted maybe a hundred years ago, they mark the location of what was then a new home. I hear a family story coming on....

Hey! This is nothing but a motley wood with some rusty, rickety old farm machinery littering a landscape! What can be learned from that outcome?

Is that all there is? It's your decision.

Meanwhile, across the street beasts with an alternate perception go about their business, maybe without observing their environment at all in the way humans sometimes do....

"bovine business"
You'll "catch my ear"
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