The American Heritage Dictionary defines the mind's eye as:
The ability to imagine or remember images or scenes.
Saturday, I was at the Indianapolis Zoo marveling at the giraffes when I noticed a young family approach the viewing area. The dad said to the four-year old, “Stand by the railing so I can get a picture of you with the baby giraffe.” After a hurried pose and picture, the family promptly moved on. Not one of them looked more than 10 seconds at the remarkable creatures. They have a picture to remember the giraffes, but did they really see them?
I guess I noticed this because when Hubby and I left for our road trip on Friday, I forgot to pick up my phone and camera from the coffee table. I was wishing I had my camera, but after the trip, I was so glad I didn’t take it. I captured the pictures and memories in my mind’s eye.
I’ve always been one to have the camera handy. Photography was an interest passed down from my dad. I take pictures all of the time. I guess I realized, while we're so busy taking pictures and getting the right shot, we’re also missing out.
Without my camera, I spent time at the zoo taking extra long looks at the animals. I stood 4 feet from a sleeping rhino and wanted to rub Lubriderm on his thick, cracked, wrinkled skin. I touched a shark. (If I had my camera, I would have been the one taking pictures of my family touching the sharks, I wouldn’t have done it). I observed three cheetahs napping together and found myself in amazement over their perfect, perfect, perfect spots and thick furry tails. I spent the time taking pictures through my mind’s eye. I remember the details so vividly. I also noticed my other senses working—my sense of smell, feeling the warm sun on my skin, and the crunching dry leaves under my feet. The sky was so blue!
I guess we're so rushed in this fast-paced world that we tend to do the “stand there and let me get a picture” and move on. We want to show that we’ve been there, done that.
It seems to me that our mind’s eye is one of the most important tools in writing. Writers are detail and quirk hunters. We tend to watch people more closely and pick up quickly on body language. Even though they say “a picture speaks a thousand words”—there’s a few “words” you won’t see if you don’t get the shot with your mind’s eye.
What do you think?
I would love to hear from you.
Between you, me and the gatepost,