How Far Is Distance?

In Week 1 we were asked to offer an image of “The View From Your Window”.

I offered a black-and-white image looking across an estate of houses in Oxfordshire on a wet and gloomy Sunday afternoon. And between the seer and the seen there is a veil – a suburban net curtain.

“How far is distance?” is a question his small son asked a friend of my wife the other day. Like many children’s questions it is so brilliantly simple and direct that it defies an easy answer, for what do people really mean when they say something is “in the distance” or “distant”? They may not even be referring to a physical object but to an anticipated future event or to an emotional state – to an abstraction, in fact. No wonder it can be hard to understand.

In my case it proved a good fit. I did feel emotionally distant that afternoon and I don’t actually know what goes on across the estate here. I am looking without much of a clue at other lives, other people, other states of being. So yes the view is veiled, because not fully understood. One of the points of this course is to start prodding and pulling at the veil so that eventually it will fall away.

Mark Crean (29 September 2019): The View From My Window