Thursday, March 9, 2017

Optical Illusions

Remember the first time you saw this?

You saw what you saw.  

Then, someone said she saw something else.


Yes, really.


I worked in the Reading Lab today with a young man who zipped through the assignment in record time.  We looked on the bookshelves for inspiration. The O Volume of the encyclopedia was of marginal interest (notwithstanding the orangutan and the optical light telescope). The Book of Minerals made for interesting reading (aloud, by me, which was hardly the point of our time together) and picture gazing and a semi-scientific explanation of prisms. The Science Explained book brought it all together in the section on optical illusions.

He'd never seen the Rubin Vase before.  Ours were blue and gold, but he saw the faces and I saw the vase and neither of us were quite able to see what the other saw.  

It got better.
There was a ruler in the caddy on our table.

That was a good thing, because every expectation led my young colleague to believe that one of those lines was a lot longer than the other one.

13 to 16 he murmured, checking the first line against the numbers through the ruler's clear plastic.  13 to 16 he smiled as the ruler slid to the second line.

Sitting back, looking at them again, we just couldn't believe our eyes.

The notion of our eyes and our brain playing tricks on us led to shared giggles of amazement and wonder when we turned the page and found The Box.

The top just moved!

I know.  I thought it opened here but now it's here.

This is really strange.

I can't remember which one of us said which part of that first; after a few minutes, we were just repeating it over and over and over again.  

We returned to the Reading Lab to collect my purse and his lunch, then headed to the office to make a copy that he could share with his friends.  Going behind the desk was a bigger deal than I realized; he was not going to press his luck..... no, he didn't want to push the Start Button.  

He did want to retrieve the pages from the tray and carry them off to lunch, however.  With nary a backward glance after his heartfelt Thank You, he went off to share his treasures, leaving me with a face cracking smile and a bursting with affection heart.

The two-in-one illusion was right there, each of us enjoying the same thing from our own perspective.  Perhaps there is a deeper philosophical point to be made here, but I'm enjoying the smiles too much to search for it.


  1. At first, I see the people. Then I see the vase. Not seeing anything on the box.

    Love these puzzles and am always amazed at what other's see.

    Hope you are having a great day. I took the day off yesterday to participate in the #DayWithoutAWoman.

    Sending hugs!

    Megan xxx

  2. I wore red and did this good deed. It's hard to take the day of when you don't really have to be anywhere

  3. We are blessed to have you reading with our kids!!


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