Saturday, April 28, 2012
The card from the Observation Deck says: Squint
The idea is that squinting at a familiar scene lets you see it in new and less familiar ways by observing lighting, angles and nuances not previously perceived.
For me, it becomes a blurred and shimmering glimpse of a terrifying future in which one of my most precious senses, my sight, might be diminished. I'm filled with intense gratitude right now that I still have my vision.
Both my mother and her mother had macular degeneration - an eye disease that, spot by spot, robs you of your central vision leaving you with some peripheral sight if you're lucky. For years my mother brought Granny talking books from the library so she could continue enjoying one of her greatest pleasures, reading. Famous actress Dame Judith Dench who has the disease and now has to have new scripts read to her, has said that the thing she misses most is being able to see the face of her dinner partner at a restaurant.
Recently my optometrist gave me a sheet of paper with a grid and two angry red dots at the edges to be used for self testing. She sees the first signs of the disease in my eyes. The idea chills me to the bone; of course, fear of what the future might bring is one of the things I am constantly trying to resist.
There are preventative measures: diligently wearing sunglasses in the Colorado sun, taking supplements like lutein, regular check ups. How could I face not being able to see the forest in Spring, a beautiful sunset, a future grandchild's face, or words on a page? If all prevention fails me, will I in fact perceive the world in new ways, hearing the birdsong in the forest at dusk more distinctly and the beloved voice of the grandchild more clearly? Helen Keller, who surely knew, said, "When one door of happiness closes, another opens."
Need a new perspective? Just squint.