Tuesday, November 19, 2013

True sight

WHEN I WAS small, I would lie in bed at night and gaze at a street light that shone through the filmy curtain draping my bedroom window.

I found that if I looked at it a certain way through my lashes, one light would become two lights. Gazed at another way, the light haloed and danced around its original boundaries.

And if I squinted at it, sudden silver rays would flash forth from two sides--street light reborn as a gleaming blue-white star, flickering just like the real thing in response to minute tilts of my head.

In winters, the street light and moonlight embraced, casting their silver nets over deep blankets of snow, setting it afire with starry glints in their thousands, dazzling along the edges of ice flowers blooming on the window pane.

My distance vision shifted as I grew, so gradually I did not notice. I had become used to seeing a soft and dreamy sort of world...one where details, like the sand on the kitchen floor that I had been asked to sweep up, were simply unseen.

When I got my first pair of eyeglasses, how suddenly clear and crisp the world that sprang into view! In my amazement, I saw freckles sprinkled across my mother's cheeks. I hadn't seen them in years, maybe since I was too young to pay them any mind.

Before eyeglasses: everything a lovely, though sometimes inconvenient, blur.

Afterward: the world's beauties and imperfections visible in equal measure.

Of course, most anyone would choose the latter over the former. You would think that casting a blur on reality banishes unpleasant things from sight...but in actuality, it makes it more likely that you will stumble over them, like the proverbial elephant in the room.

Still, blur does beguile. Blur is the Impressionist painting of sight. On Pinterest, there are whole pinboards dedicated to lovely, blurry photography. It is one reason why filters and plug-ins and effects exist...to modify reality, suggest ambiguity, evoke mystery.

And maybe also because it is almost like having a new pair of eyes through which to experience the world. Lucky for me, Blur World is a place I can visit any time with my natural, unaided, streetlights-into-stars vision, no equipment required...all I need to do is take off my glasses, and be very careful not to step on a cat.


  1. I'm only experiencing the visual blur now that I am 50. I now need aide for ingredient lists and sometimes reading... glad we can choose if we want blurry or clear! Love that second blurring kitty pic, they are almost always blurred with motion, aren;t they!

    1. I always think blurry vision is more like half-formed thoughts and vaguely remembered dreams...while "corrected vision" thoughts and dreams hit you over the head...and the eyes of a cat see through a different lens altogether.


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