By Definition

Once again in the early hours of the morning when I looked at the weather app on my phone, it said “Clear”, but having already been taken in by that lie recently, I knew enough not to believe it.

Particularly standing on the driveway and looking up at the darkness but seeing no stars looking back at me. Yeah, white man speaks with forked tongue.

The closer I got to the lake I was picking up more cloud being reflected by the lights. Which made me wonder how these jokers actually define the condition “clear”. My suspicions are that anything up to a certain percentage of cloud in the sky (maybe 10% is considered clear, while up to 90% is considered “partly cloudy” … I don’t know, I’m no weatherman).

So it became clear (there’s that word again) that I wasn’t going to be able to spend the early darkness shooting stars in the skies.

But that’s OK, I wasn’t too disappointed. I haven’t mastered the settings I want yet anyway, so it would likely have been a fail in all seriousness.

I have attached a few images at the end of the blog and the first four were very much in darkness near the boat pier, while the next two were taken at twilight half way down the lake shore.

The very last one was just taken with my phone, showing how finely balanced the tripod was on the edge of the platform, so as to get none of the platform itself in the shot.

Sometimes, I shake my head at the risks I take. It was but one of several this morning, in all truth. There was the huge splash a small few feet away from me, as I first went down the pier in the dark. I didn’t see anything, but the splash was big enough to have been a 10 footer gator.

Or the race through the darkness from camera to end of pier within ten seconds before the shutter opened up. Now that’s a bit of a risk for someone who broke a wrist just a few weeks ago. Or the moment when I climbed down the embankment to the water’s edge in getting the twilight shot. Could have been standing with anything in that spot.

Risk taking is part of taking nature shots, I suspect. It is really only later, when we consider the risks though. Not so much at that specific moment.

In any event, I did make it home in one piece so I guess it is a matter of “live to fight another day”.

It was on the way home, that today’s blog thought really began to play around inside my head. I mused on the whole definition of clear then asked myself what “definition” actually means anyway.

You see, definition is something that we get from someone else or a resource that we believe to be truthful and knowledgeable. And most importantly, definitions are generally delivered as facts. Something that should be accepted and not even questioned.

But definitions are prone to be outrageously wrong. For example, in early days the sun was defined as something that revolved around the world, until one day it wasn’t. The earth was flat until it wasn’t. Pluto was a planet in our solar system until it wasn’t.

So sometimes, these definitions are simply a matter of lack of knowledge and they get “corrected” over time.

But other times, definitions are deliberately wrong. They are delivered as a fact in order to make us think a certain way. For example, blacks are inferior to whites was a definition that was supported by biblical passages in order to elevate caucasion self-esteem and enable slavery.

The Katyn massacre of 22,000 polish officers and intelligentsia was committed by the Nazis and part of the crimes against humanity listed at the Nuremberg trials. Until of course, it turned out the Russians did it and the English and Americans didn’t want to risk losing an ally, so they supported the “fact” and the Nazis were blamed. Don’t believe me?

History is littered with such facts and by definition, we consume them. Sometimes we even act on them. Sometimes we go to war for them. Sometimes we discriminate because of them.

But beyond global and historical definitions, there are definitions around us that we cling to and judge based on, as if somehow we have a measuring stick that allows us to determine how and where to judge another.

“… she is a slut.”

We hear that and depending on our definition of “slut” we demean the person so defined.

According to the definition, a slut is “a woman who has many sexual partners.” You will note it immediately only applies to a woman and there is no male equivalent because nobody counts the number of partners a male has.

So, the very definition is meant to degrade and specifically degrade women.

Yet, this person can be so defined without even being “guilty” of having many sexual partners. She is a slut in some parts of the world, because she doesn’t wear a veil. Or she shows some cleavage, or is dating your former boyfriend.

Who knows and in truth, who even cares.

But my point is that often times the definitions are not simply intended to mislead, but to hurt.

So when we hear a definition of a person or a people, a place, or an event, be wary when it is delivered as a “fact” that brings a consequence.

We shouldn’t box such targets based on a definition we were given, and should only see such targets based on our own interactions with them.

Some of my best friends are sluts. Some of the best food I have eaten has come from dives. Some of the best times I have had are insignificant.

Conversely some of the most wonderful people I was introduced to were complete assholes, some of the best places to eat were mediocre, and some of the most amazing experiences left me cold.

You see, we experience life through our own mind and heart and if we allow our mind and heart to create its own definitions of what we are experiencing then we will find our own truth and not be encumbered by someone else’s perspective on it.

That is, by definition, called live and let live. It works, try it.

… just a thought!