I get my eyes examined today. This usually means new glasses or at the very least, new lenses. This isn’t something I relish, purchasing new lenses. My eyes are bad and I require “high index” lenses to correct my vision. The cost of these lenses causes me to pay two to three times as much for lenses as many people pay for an entire pair of glasses. I’m not a fan of contacts unless I’m involved in an activity where my enjoyment of that activity would be greatly enhanced by the presence of contacts. I’m not a good candidate for Lasik surgery.
I take my eyesight very seriously. I’ve been wearing glasses since the second grade…that’s the better part of forty plus years. Not having glasses on my face feels as naked as my face without my beard.
I have always had a difficult time answering the philosophical question, “If you had to lose one sense, hearing or vision, which would it be?” As I grow older, this question, at least for me becomes easier to answer.
As I age, maturity has followed. I have an easier time accepting change, even those changes over which I have little control. I choose to accept these things. I accept my vision limitations and know as my age continues to advance this is a limitation which will not improve, in fact they will grow worse.
My response to this philosophical question is my hearing. This is a decision made only slightly easier because I am such a visual person.
I enjoy, even love and thrive on long periods of silence. The same silence which causes others to become anxious and even panic, in me allows happiness to be the dominat feeling. I feel anxious when the auditory stimulation proves to be to great. If my field of vision becomes cluttered, I can simply close my eyes. This does not work as easily with one’s hearing.
Solitude, according to John Burroughs, is “not for the young; the young have no thoughts or experience, but only unsatisfied desires; it is for the middle-aged and the old, for a man when he has ripened and wants time to mellow his thoughts. A man who retires to solitude must have a capital of thought and experience to live upon, or his soul will perish of want. This capital must be reinvested in the things about him, or it will not suffice. Either as a farmer or as a student and lover of nature, or as both, can he live as it were on the interest of his stored-up wisdom.”
When I struggle during winter because all color has been drained and we see the world in blacks, whites and shades of gray, I find it helpful to close my eyes and recall what my mind’s yes has already seen.
It is these visual changes which I love and look forward to seeing. I look for the beauty in the naked branches of the trees. Experience has told me these branches will soon be adorned by their beautiful, green coat. As these sights continue to change so the smells and sounds of the seasons.
I borrowed this thought from Corrine H. Smith’s blog at Thoreau farms. “We spend most of our waking hours passing through familiar territory; our homes, our cars, our commute routes, our schools and workplaces. We know these landscapes so well that we need only to glance at their edges in order to sleepwalk along their paths and through their routines. But what’s beneath these surfaces? What’s using camouflage to blend in with its environment? What are we missing, day after day? “To be awake is to be alive,” Thoreau told us. Stop. Look. Go beyond the familiar. Scrutinize. Open yourself up to further possibilities. You may very well see something remarkable. A hawk may be waiting.”
Open your eyes and your ears as you walk this earth. See and hear what the world has to offer. Be dazzled by the sights and sounds.