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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Ink Blots & Benches

A few weeks ago, Avey and I were out on one of her favorite pastimes – a good old fashioned walk – when we happened upon a bench that had been neglected for some time. It was missing one of the planks that made the area to sit upon, and one of the supporting metal bars was dangling below, making it a precarious place to rest one’s hindquarters, to say the least.

She was in quite the blissful state, mostly kneeling and looking at the metalwork. She referred to it several times as the monkey bench, which I did not understand for a few minutes. At the zoo earlier this summer, she enjoyed sitting upon the benches that had been crafted in the shapes of animals, such as a rhinoceros, gorilla, giraffe, etc. For this reason, I searched the structure of the bench trying to understand what characteristics it shared with a monkey. Finally, Avey helped to paint the picture she was seeing by pointing out the monkey’s eyes. In a moment, it struck me too. She saw the face of a monkey in the design. The spirals are eyes, the wooden oval is the monkey’s mouth:

I chuckled to myself after realizing the connection. I found it interesting that I may never have looked at the bench and seen the monkey if she had not pointed it out to me. It’s a lot like Rorschach’s ink blot test. He believed that by showing a person neutral stimuli, the person would project things on his or her mind into the pictures. In essence, a person sees what he or she wants to see. There must be some truth to that, because Avey usually has animals on the brain, and saw one in what I might have thought the least likely of places. But now, I can’t look at the bench in any other way. It is and will forever be the monkey bench.

I’m so glad to have another little perspective on our surroundings, and to have the theme be something so innocent, optimistic, and sweet!


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