There once was a man who lived his whole life in the forest. And his parents lived their whole lives in the forest, and their parents before that, and their parents before that and their parents before that, as far back as anyone can remember. This forest was very thick with trees, and the man and his people lived amongst them, making tiny shelters between the trunks in the shade and protection of the great many leaves above them.
The man and his people acquired all they needed from the forest and each other. Food, shelter, weapons for hunting, protection, companionship, and community. The forest was so broad and wide that the man and his people never needed to leave it, and so they spent their whole lives surrounded by trees, in the tiniest clearings between the trunks and branches.
But the people knew there was a world outside the forest, and one day the man had to go to that other world on some important business.
He rode in a car and the car took him over many winding roads until they reached the edge of the great forest. Suddenly the man entered a vast clearing, a wide open space that stretched for many, many miles, the likes of which he had never seen before.
The light of the sun was nearly blinding after the dappled shade of the forest, and he felt a little dizzy with the vast expanse stretching out around him after the close quarters of trunks and canopy he had lived his whole life within.
Ahead he could see something moving. It was no bigger than his thumbnail, and appeared to be moving. He squinted his eyes to get a better look and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “What is that tiny buffalo?!” He yelled, incredulous and a little frightened, for there before his eyes was a perfect, miniature, version of the humongous buffalo he had seen winding amongst the trees of the forest out on hunting trips with his people. As he watched, the buffalo appeared to be growing larger.
“What is that tiny buffalo?!” He demanded again. “Why is it so small? And why does it appear to be growing?”
The man driving the car laughed and said “it’s not tiny, it’s just a regular sized buffalo. But it’s very far away so it just LOOKS very tiny. It appears to be growing because the closer we get to it, the larger it appears. That’s what distance does, that’s perspective.”
But the man, who had lived his whole life amongst the close and comforting press of trees, could not truly understand….