Power of perception

Yesterday I posted a little note and a photo of a tree in the woods.  I commented that the tree was decorated in Mardi Gras colours, purple, green, and gold.  That’s exactly what I saw yesterday in the woods.

You might have noticed, as I have, that the picture I posted tells a slightly different story.   In the  picture, the decorations are not limited in colour, but include other colours as well.  And a friend noted that she had seen that tree before in the park, quite a while before Mardi Gras.

Hmm…..this has me pondering and amused, actually, at the influence of my thoughts.   Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, a day important in my childhood for religious reasons and the beginning of Lent.  I recall many years of the supreme sacrifice of giving up eating candy for the interminable six weeks before Easter.  This was for some abstract reason that was going to help Jesus, somehow, even though he was still going to be crucified whether I was compliant or not.   In my adult life, Lent marked the end of the Mardi Gras season, which started at Epiphany and was marked by delightful and delicious King Cake, a soggy sweet coffee cake that boasted purple, green and gold coloured sugars, and a plastic baby hidden somewhere for you to break a tooth on.

But yesterday in the woods I was primed to see a Mardi Gras tree, not a Christmas tree.

I had been thinking about Shrove Tuesday, and about my nephew Vic’s birthday, and the particular birthday when Vic turned twelve at our house in Louisiana. The birthday fell on Tuesday, Fat Tuesday. So we celebrated by heading off to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Vic decided that the party was for him and we all agreed.

With pancakes and king cakes in my mind, how could I avoid turning that tree into a Mardi Gras symbol? But I was wrong. The power of perception was so strong, so insistent, that I came home and posted a picture claiming what I had seen. Only now I know it’s just what I thought I had seen.

Thoughts can be powerful and persuasive. I wonder where else I have experienced a sort of perception-blindness?

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