Seeing Strange: The Horse With No Eyes

Notre Dame Cathedral, Vieux Port, Montreal

Notre Dame Cathedral, Vieux Port, Montreal

I’m waiting for a friend in Place d’Armes, the plaza in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal’s Vieux Port.

A great place to wait! So much to enjoy!

Narrow cobbled streets, the imposing cathedral, the surrounding historic buildings (which include Montreal’s oldest building: Saint Sulpice Seminary dating from 1687), a guitarist and singer performing under a shady tree, tourists…and of course, the calèches – the horse-drawn carriages festooned with flowers or feathers.

calèche opposite Saint Sulpice Seminary, Vieux Port, Montreal

Three young kids break away from their parents as they catch sight of the queue of calèches, shrieking with delight. They run across the plaza towards the horses, eyes shining, arms open.

Halfway across, the smallest, a boy, freezes, a terrified look on his face.

“The horse has got no eyes,” he screams, and bursts into tears.

I look at the horse, trying to see what the boy has seen. He’s right. The horse has empty blanks instead of eyes.

I know of course, that the blanks are the horse’s blinkers, there to keep him looking at what’s immediately ahead of him, to prevent him shying at an unexpected movement beside him. But just for a moment I completely forget that.

The horse has no eyes. How creepy is that! But exciting too!

Imagine: a horse with no eyes pulling people in a merrily decorated calèche over the cobblestones along a dark street of the Old Port, tall buildings rising high each side.

Seeing something in a totally alien way will jolt you out of your usual automatic acceptance of the appearance of things. The fresh sense of awareness can be tremendously energizing.

Try looking at things “innocently”, as though never seen before. Try to see what is actually there, not what one knows to be there.

See new, see strange. Your creative synapses will thank you!

I love child things because there’s so much mystery when you’re a child. When you’re a child, something as simple as a tree doesn’t make sense. You see it in the distance and it looks small, but as you go closer, it seems to grow — you haven’t got a handle on the rules when you’re a child. We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experienced is a narrowing of the imagination. David Lynch

Connected Link:

Looking Sideways

Perceptual Shifts: Seeing the Strange in the Everyday


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