There is a sidewalk on my campus that I only use about twice a month. Over the course of almost 10 years, I've observed the changing seasons, the changing students, and the ubiquitous construction. I've pretty well seen what there is to see on that stretch of sidewalk. Or so I thought.
Last week, I saw the light. Literally. In fact, I saw two of them, flanking the entrance to a building. And I realized that I had seen that light two months and 300 miles away, walking the streets of Memphis and capturing architectural details through the lens of my camera. Why had I never seen that light in my own backyard?
As I pondered that question, I searched through 200 or so photos of architectural details (light fixtures, molding, brick patterns, ironwork, bridges and more, in true geek fashion) to find the one I remembered. Memory being what it is, the lights are similar in design and material, though not identical. But had I not taken the photo there, I doubt that I would ever have noticed the light here.
Sometimes we can only see some parts of where we are by returning there from somewhere else. T.S. Eliot captures it best, perhaps, in "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.