I was camping with a friend in southern California recently and we were talking about politics. Not “talking politics,” as in weighing the features of the Green New Deal or arguing blue vs. red – that is, policies and parties – but talking “about” politics. I gestured towards some nearby vegetation to make a point.
“See those two trees,” I asked. “Right next to each other there?”
My friend nodded and smiled. She saw where this was going.
I jumped up, ran over and stood between the pair. With exaggerated movements, I faced first one and then, ostentatiously, turned around to face the other. “They’re coming from completely different directions!” I declared. Allowing myself a smirk I said, “That’s the perspective of a partisan Democrat or a Republican.”
I jogged back to her. “But from here, it’s easy to see how close they are to each other.”
Indeed, the branches of the two trees were growing in each other’s airspace, meaning that their roots were probably entangled under the surface. They were quite literally drawing their sustenance from the same ground.
I pointed up at the rocky hills behind us. “And from up there, the view is different again.”
“You might not be able to tell them apart,” she said.
I nodded. “And from here, we can only imagine that perspective, unless we go up there.”
This is why imagination is so important.