The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 25, 2012


I asked someone what he thought I meant by ‘squinting.’  He replied he thought squinting meant being able to look at something as a video rather than a photo.  I assumed that meant to look at things as unstatic, changeable, to see variations,  to see the shades of gray rather than  looking  at everything as  though it was black or white.   That’s close but it isn’t quite what I mean by the word.

Most of us do look at things as though they were black or white and fail to see the many shades of gray.  It’s either raining or it’s not. For people unable to squint it’s never misty. For them, a movie is either good or bad. They are unable to appreciate the director’s role, the vibrancy of the physical settings or a part of the dialogue that was exceptionally witty.  If they knew how to squint that wit might have led to an interesting conversation or a trip to the library for more of the same.

As I understand it, squinting encompasses the use of one’s imagination.  When I was a child, I’d lie on my back in the sand, surrounded by ducks parading on a small lake, weeping willows rustling on the shore, and  I’d gaze up at the sky. I saw a puppy in one cloud, a crown in another and a teapot in a third. That day dreaming taught me to look at things with a sort of mental squint. It was a building block called imagination, the foundation for whatever creativity I possess.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. We’d have no planes or computers without it. The problems of the world cannot be solved by skeptics or cynics. We need men have learned to squint – who can dream – men who understand that while knowledge is limited imagination encircles the world. A man without imagination is like an observatory without a telescope. He is a rowboat without an oar, a deck of cards without the aces. He has no wings.

You have not learned to squint if you look at the ocean and do not see the coral; if you see a pile of rocks and do not see a cathedral. There’s a little voice in our heads that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if.” Trust it. There’s another voice that whispers “What if.” Trust that one too.

A child’s first reader ought to be Dr. Seuss for he had it right. “You’ll be surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond “Z” and start poking around”

A question.  Is the ability to squint confined to seeing or can it be applied to thinking as well?  What do you think?


Julie Rose


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