Reframing the View
When a notoriously tough prison comes into view, minds may tend toward dark thoughts of prison life and infamous inmates from history. We imagine prisoners and guards isolated on a small, rocky island surrounded by treacherous waters.
Yet from high on a hill, I look out over San Francisco Bay and see former federal penitentiary Alcatraz as one aesthetic element in the overall vista. Even with the prison facilities clearly in view, it is one integral part of a scene of beauty.
How we see or feel about something can shift according to our mood, a change in circumstances, or by consciously reframing how we’re viewing that object, scene or situation.
I recently took a short, belated memorial visit to the house I grew up in, in honor of my dad’s recent passing. I thought I might spend the entire visit feeling a powerful sense of loss and sadness.
His funeral photo and urn sat on the mantelpiece above his empty chair, the chair he sat in for so many hours each day as his mobility waned. Watching favorite TV shows and movies became his main occupation, and that was his spot.
My dad’s empty chair was the logical place for me to sit during my visit. Double negative logic here: I didn’t feel that he wasn’t there. I felt like I was channeling his positive, cheerful spirit as I sat in his space, watching his old favorites in companionship with others missing him.
What might have been a time of great heartache somehow reframed itself into treasuring memories of time with my dad. Fears of overwhelming grief never came to pass.
Maybe this was simply a serendipitous instance of positive perspective, as I wasn’t trying to avoid sadness. I realized that sad, dark things don’t necessarily manifest themselves as expected, but also that I probably could have consciously worked to embrace happy memories and gratitude if I’d needed to.
May we all find ways to shift our perspectives and find silver linings during challenging times.
This week’s Hike Notes, Black Point Historic Gardens-Fort Mason, leads readers on a hillside walk along historic flower gardens with a view of Alcatraz, Aquatic Park and the San Francisco Bay.
Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Browse hikes on the main Hikes page or on the Hike Search by Area page. Check out selected articles and interviews under Media. Click World Walks to see or share favorite family-friendly walks! Stay in touch with Lisa Louis and HikingAutism via Contact. The Links page lists a loose collection of helpful information links.
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Hike Notes 187: Black Point Historic Gardens-Fort Mason
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.