A vineyard in winter...
Flemish, c. 1520.
from Sylvia Landsberg's The Medieval Garden,
University of Toronto Press.
Many of the lookouts and observation platforms prominent in the past were for defensive purposes - coast watch, fire watch, vermin watch.
And, inevitably, people watch.
Today, that watch function has been largely replaced by the ubiquitous, unobtrusive bird's eye of the video camera.
I wonder if the medieval consciousness had a more profound sense of above and below.
Certainly we retain a proletarian suspicion and disdain for certain kinds of oversight. My academic infant's tongue-in-cheek phone tape once began with "You have reached the Ivory Tower..."
On the other hand, writers of non-fiction are particularly advised to consider platform - some structure that supports and raises them above the rest.
When diverted from inspection of their own interiors, writers watch people. It may be best not to do so from above.
The view from the balcony of the mind is foreshortened, distorted, and tends toward stereotype.
One may observe - besides a collection of bald spots, baseball caps and bad dye jobs - movement and pattern and traffic flow. Scurry. Ants.
But not faces, not people.