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9|9|22 Umwelt

The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.

– Marcel Proust

As I was sitting down to put this note together, one of my favorite newsletters showed up in my inbox. In there Austin included this link to a fascinating video about  how other beings sense the world.

There were tons of fascinating ideas, but what really caught my attention was the concept that each animal senses only what they NEED to sense to stay alert and safe. In part because sensing too much becomes overwhelming and also because there is an energy cost that comes with the infrastructure of our senses. So every being on the planet has a uniquely refined and constrained set of senses—including us.

This idea has a word—umwelt. That each being has a specific way they experience the world. As I write this, it's sounds so obvious, but it reminds me of sitting by the river yesterday and closely watching the surface of the water. There is so much life happening on that thin veneer.

As the sun rose I was just quietly watching all the activity and interactivity of water bugs, mosquitos, dragonflies, fish, herons, ducks and geese. I was thinking about my own senses of what I was seeing, hearing, smelling and touching, but how much more interesting to think about the world from each of their perspectives.

I wonder if humans have multiple umwelts, because I know that how I sense things inside my studio is decidedly different from everywhere else. For sure I am much more intentional about looking at things from multiple perspectives. It's one of those studio practices that I'm constantly trying to remember to use more outside the studio.

Interestingly, I have quite a few animals featured in this week's collection. The fox, butterfly and owl are all beautiful reminders of how we all have completely unique perspectives on things.

I hope you find some time to be out enjoying the endless perspectives of  nature this weekend.


PS:  Returning to my studio after a long stretch away has me back in the de-stashing mode. So if you're looking for some fun bits of tin to incorporate in your work, keep an eye on this space.