Thursday, June 06, 2013

As a child I was always taken by kaleidoscopes.  I look back on those days and wondered why they fascinated me so.

Was it the designs—which appeared to be glass chips falling apart  and then, once shaken, coming back together again, only to make new beautiful designs?

Was it the chips that appeared to change colors and shapes miraculously falling in and out but always seeming to land in the right place.

Was it the toy itself?  How did all those pieces remain contained in that cylinder and not fall out?   If I had tried to destroy the toy, would the inside pieces just melt away as they chaotically scattered and spread all over the place?  What were kaleidoscopes communicating?

All of this came to mind as I was reading about a person whom, it turns out, I knew.  He had a collection of these kaleidoscopes that he treasured. No, this was not a child.   It was a grown adult.  I finally reached out to him and shared my observations, as stated above, to see if those were the qualities that made kaleidoscopes so magnetic for him.

No, the significance of the kaleidoscope for him was as much philosophical and symbolic as it was beautiful.  Sure, he related to all of my observations…but he saw something more subtle and profound.
He said, “When you look into a kaleidoscope, you see something beautiful.  But after you shake it up, destroying what is there, and hold it up to the light again, you will see something new and different, but equally beautiful.  Life is much the same as the kaleidoscope,“ he emphasized.  “After being shaken, it will always reveal something new and beautiful, but only if we take the time to hold it up to the light and look inside.”

Thus, the kaleidoscope has taken on a new meaning for me.  It represents the initiative we all must take to sustain beauty in our lives and land in the right place, as life continues to change and we are continuously challenged.  Things fall apart sometime, but they can always be put back together again, achieving ultimate beauty with a new look, but only if we “hold it up to the light and look inside. “

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