Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gratitude: The Gift of Vision

Here are some of my spectacles, various prescriptions.
Today, I am grateful for:

Sight. That's an easy one to take for granted until the day when we start seeing it fade. It's a sense I've thought about a lot over the years.

When I started in the newspaper business in 1964, I had 20/15 vision. That's just about perfect and it's one of the reasons I was a pretty good passer in football. I could see the field. All of it. Six months after reading raw copy eight hours or more a day, my vision was 20/40 and I had to get glasses. Doc called it "paper blindness."

At first, the glasses were a blessing. Those who'd always thought me a simple-minded jock began to look at me differently. The black horn-rimmed glasses gave me more of an intellectual look, if not actually increasing my IQ. Friends and colleagues treated me differently and I liked that.

The eyes degraded some over the years and eventually, I required bi-focals, then tri-focals, which I had to break up among glasses. I simply could not see through three prescriptions at a time. Then I had to keep up with the glasses: one for distance, one for reading, one for the computer and various combinations of two prescriptions on one pair of glasses. It got expensive. It became confusing.

These days, I'm still confused, it's still expensive and I still can't always see. I have no idea why, but medical science doesn't seem to be able to manufacture a pair of glasses that allow me to see both far and near at the same time. But at least (and I hate to start a sentence that way because it means something minimal is coming) my vision is stabalized. Dr. Gorgeous, my optometrist, once told me that happens as we age. It's one of the few good advantages of age, I've discovered.

I am an occasional photographer, as you might know, and photographers look at things with a different perspective than non-photographers. We see detail, angle and line, prospects for great photos and not just what's in the viewshed. Good vision is essential.

Through it all, I have my eyesight, though it's not perfect. I can still fully appreciate a blooming daisy, a red tomato, a beautiful face or a worn and expressive one, great architecture, a mountain range, a round bottom, a tiny detail in a painting ... all the things that make sight a joy. And something we should never take for granted.

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