Do You Have Discerning Eyes?

an unhidden letter

an unhidden letter

I’m not a huge fan of American author Edgar Allan Poe’s works, but his short story, “The Purloined Letter,” has always been a favorite of mine.

I like the “The Purloined Letter” tale, because of one of its themes: much can be hidden within the obvious.

Often we can look past things that lie, like the purloined letter that Poe wrote about, right in front of us, within our plain sight.  As Kubrick may have said, so many of us find ourselves walking through life with “eyes wide shut.”

Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” reminds us to look beyond the surface of our realities and to reexamine our perspectives and ourselves.

That reminder still resonates and is being perpetuated by authors today.  For example, American actress Drew Barrymore’s new book of personal photographs, “Find it in Everything,” reveals how she was able to find heart-shaped objects and patterns hidden within unexpected places and reminds us to look beyond the obvious to find beautiful, previously-hidden things.

Have you ever found something hidden “right before your very eyes” like Poe’s purloined letter?   Maybe a better question is: are you looking?

Besides Poe, Kubrick and Barrymore, another lad named Shakespeare also warned: “Our very eyes are sometimes like our judgements, blind.”

To end this post, I won’t be nosy and ask, “Who are you seeing these days?”  Rather, I’ll ask,   “What are you seeing these days?”


  1. Karen Washburn says:

    This is a great question, Ruth. Just last night I was looking at some pictures my future daughter-in-law had posted. In one of them, the bottom half of my son’s face was in the background. I was absolutely amazed when I looked at it because I had never before noticed that he has my late Dad’s nose, grin and chin. I was stunned at realizing this. Also, when I am in sort of a contemplative mood, I find myself looking down at the tile in one of the rooms of our house. Amazingly, I see all sorts of shapes in it. Few people noticed, but my dog, Noah, had a white blotch on his hind quarter that always looked like a milk bone to me. Crazy the things we see if we take a moment to look.

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