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A famous photographer was set up on a scenic overlook 
to shoot the beautiful sunset. 
A stranger walked up beside him 
and gazed silently at the gorgeous sky. 
After a couple of minutes the stranger said this: 
"It's almost like a painting." 
The photographer said: "Yes. Nature's catching up." 

Life is a picture without a frame. 
There's too much to see to really appreciate it. 
We see life best when it comes in little sections 
cleverly framed so we know what to focus on. 
It's easier for us to see the tree than the forest. 

In olden days it was the fashion 
for hikers on nature walks to carry wooden picture frames. 
When they came upon a beautiful vista, 
they would look at it through the frames, 
blocking out the not so pretty things, 
and adjusting the frame to see only the best parts, 
in artistic a painting. 

Frames are interesting. 
On television they make a picture shorter from top to bottom 
and we think we're seeing a panorama. 
Hair styles are designed to frame the face. 
When we "frame" somebody for a crime, 
we focus suspicion upon them. 

Stories and songs frame parts of life for us to understand... 
showing us life with order and meaning, 
and not showing us the ugly or boring parts.
People in story and song seldom sleep or go to the bathroom, 
because they are not important to the plot. 
Every line is written to add to the continuity, 
and take the action to a satisfying ending. 

Real life doesn't have many good endings. 
It usually peaks somewhere around the middle, 
and then just wanders off, 
but the authors are smart enough to stop at a high point. 
Stories give us life we can a frame. 
Bite size. 

I don't mean to say life can't be fun, inspiring, tragic, hilarious, 
noble, evil, and interesting in every way. 
It is, and I love it. 
But it's often more interesting when we look back on it. 
Our memory is selective. 
It forgets the boring parts. 

Artists, composers, and writers help us to find meaning, 
or the illusion of meaning, 
in a world that appears pretty random to the naked eye. 
I do this kind of thing for a living. It's my life's work, 
and I'm glad I didn't listen to the well-meaning people 
who advised me to give up this nonsense, 
and get a real job. 

Music, literature, and art help us to to get a frame 
around this life we find ourselves in. 

Copyright  March 16, 2006, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. 


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