A Matter of Perspective
By Mary Lynn Garger, Tennis Professional
It was an incredible Colorado fall day in the White River National Forest. With our shoes tightly cinched and our daypacks filled with food and water, we set out on the American Lake Trail just outside of Aspen. The ascent was immediate and steady – 2000 feet in elevation – yet the reward was well worth the effort as we came upon a dazzling emerald green lake, engulfed by towering mountains.
We walked around the lake and found many incredible photo opportunities, all of them seemingly more glorious than the ones before. Each location offered a unique perspective – perspectives we would not have encountered had we not taken the chance to move beyond what we already knew.
Typically, we prefer hikes that loop back to our starting point, but this particular hike was an out and back trail, so the descent afforded us another very different perspective from that of the ascent. The sun had changed positions, causing the already vibrant colors of the aspen trees to pop all the more, the rock formations to become more bold and the evergreens to stand at even greater attention. As we continued our descent, a telephone pole in the distance came into view and I said to my husband, “That telephone pole could also be a cross, depending on one’s perspective. For me, it’s a cross.”
“Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.”
– Sterling K. Browm
And so goes life. We each have our own perspectives formed by our cultures and experiences. Who’s to say one perspective is better than another? When we take time to go beyond what we know, and sincerely remain open to other points of view, we may not change our viewpoints, but, at the very least, we cultivate more compassion and empathy in a world that so desperately needs it. We each have this ability within us – today, let’s put it to use!