I Can See You – Can You See Me?
I took a walk in the late yesterday afternoon once I had arrived in Canmore. I am in Canmore because one of my sister’s sons is getting married. On my walk, I came across this elk who was interested, but not afraid of my presence. In spite of my best efforts I made a lot of noise walking through the trees trying to get closer to him in hopes of getting a better photo. In spite of all that noise, he continued to munch on the leaves of the bushes and occasionally look up at me. Obviously, my noise was not considered a threat. Wildlife living on the edges of towns get used to the presence of people who for the most part get used to them and in turn ignore them as well.
It’s amazing what we get used to when one thinks about it. We get used to lies, we get used to being abused, we get used to being ignored are just a few of the negative things that when seen rarely and in isolation, shock us. Since my return to Canada, I have noticed that the leaders of both Canada and the U.S.A., as well as their rivals for political power, have no qualms about lying and don’t seem to mind even being caught in their lies as long as they get the intended results. Because of the frequency of their lies, we stop listening and soon begin to accept lies as the new “truths.”
We cease to recognise lies as deep breaches of trust and learn to accept that lying has value, positive value. Learning these lessons, we lie to our children, our parents, our employers, our employees, even to strangers who know nothing about us during those chance meetings while travelling. We “know” that we are lying at some level, but deny that knowing so that we come to believe our own lies.
What lies do I tell myself? Most of them are lies of self-depreciation. I don’t know if anyone, including myself, can truly tell the truth of our own histories as we have created those histories through lenses of infancy, of childhood and youth. Time has altered and coloured those created histories to make the early versions disappear. It seems all of us have this built-in “golden years” lens that turns the past into something so much better than it was, giving it an aura rather than letting real colours show through.
I look in the mirror as if I am staring at a stranger and wonder: “I can see you. Can you see me?” I am left wondering about the stranger in the mirror and if I will ever know him, know the truth of his past and his present. What lies of my own creation will continue to serve as a mask in the mirror?