Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The dancing flame of my writing candle casts golden and glowing flashes of light on my mess of a desk tonight. I sometimes forget how warm and familiar a live flame can be, when one intends to sit and let out, the words. It’s friendly and active, and almost human, it it’s movements.

My little flame is crouching and then jumping. It falls over and rises again. It stretches way, waaaay up, then dips and dashes in painterly swashes. All the time it is rooted to the wick, planted to the black sooty twist of fiber with glowing orange edges.

I lit this flame with a blowtorch tonight. I knew I had moved the bic lighter to somewhere else, and I thought, ‘I have a blowtorch handy, I’ll just use that!’ Why not? So I did.

There are other things I have handy. Like a phone to take pictures. Which I did also. It’s a fancy one. It can do lots of things. I decided to take pictures of my little writing candle. I wanted to waste time. Wasting time, is what this writer does lots of. I must waste it, in order to see the hands of the big clock on the wall squeezing away my sleeping time, my tomorrow time, my life.

I must watch it pass, until I think it’s too late. Then the action begins.

So there I sat, clicking away pictures of this candle. And I wanted to show you my blowtorch tip, blasting the wick and proving that this little moment existed tonight, in digital picture evidence. But it didn’t look good. You couldn’t see the blasting of the fire. The effect was lost. So I played with the effects available on my phone camera.

Sepia, black and white, cartoonify, washed-out, red-yellow point, blue point, green too, solarize, posterize, warm vintage and cold. Then ‘No Effect’, the normal mode. But wait, there was ‘Negative’ too. And then I noticed the message.

I took the same picture, over and over and over again. It was the same camera, the same subject, the same time period and angle. The same shot, over and over, but with different effects. The results were interesting.

You can see in each picture a shape, and a form. Some you can see the candle, some not. Some look ‘normal’, some don’t. The ‘negative’ version was the worst. It flip flops all the colors, to show the brightest point of the picture as the darkest. It renders the darkness as light. It is a hard to comprehend ‘backward’ image of the truth.

Seeing this picture with a ‘negative’ filter, is ugly.

Uh oh. I am stuck on negative mode sometimes. Too many times. Right now even. Darn. It’s ugly. It’s showing me a reverse image of the truth. I am literally seeing thru eyes and processing with my mind, in a mode that I don’t enjoy or like. I must wonder now, what the truth really looks like, if it I am seeing things in opposite view??


Or, It’s not opposite view at all! What if I am seeing in ‘No Effect’ and I’ve lost any masking and digital enhancing effects that make things seem warmer and prettier and softer than they really are. What if I am seeing, just as things are, and I feel I am seeing ugly things?

Either way, I don’t always like the picture I see. I know that someone will tell me to always look on the bright side. Or every dark cloud has a silver lining… and I know this could be true, I may be too lazy to look for it.

(Here’s that signature moment of too much honesty, once again in a weirdforgood blog.)

So I ask today a question to myself. If I know that there are other ‘filters’ and ‘effects’ that I can use to process the way I see the world, will I do something about that? Will I try to switch views? Will I show someone else what I see, and ask their perception of it? Will I relax into the knowing that change is unstoppable, and what I see in my view right now, is about to be different, because it always is, always was, and always will be in motion?

Heck if I know. I get right now, that I am a photoshop wizard, and I can make the darn picture into anything I want. If I really sit down and commit to doing it. I have the tools and the skills and even the artistic vision. If the picture gets ugly enough to me, I will change it. I know that to be true. We all do. We all can. We all will…

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas my friend. I hope you notice that your new year will be exactly the picture that you choose to see, or choose to create, in it’s beauty and it’s lack of it. As will mine. Wish me luck 🙂 I need it right now 🙂


Aaron Nichols

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