Watercolor Vision

Nature Landscape

One of the things that has plagued me my whole life is myopia. As a child, I would pray day and night for a miracle, that I would wake up one morning and be able to see the pictures on my wall, the road signs, the faces far away — clearly, with my own eyes. I was embarrassed by my glasses. I hated them. Once I got contacts, I never wore glasses in public.

As an adult, I realized that we now have this procedure called LASIK. Corrective eye surgery? Yes, please. I don’t mind paying money. It’s still a miracle in my eyes. (No blatant pun intended.)

I’ve had several preliminary exams. Consequently, I haven’t been able to wear contacts much. I’m not embarrassed by my glasses anymore, but I’m not growing any fonder of them either. They’re fragile, uncomfortable, hopeless dirt collectors, and generally all-around annoying. And I worry about breaking them on my travels too. Having perfect vision would be wonderful!

On a beautiful day in this winter December month that refuses to act like its season, I took the cat for a walk (yes, I live with a cat that goes for walks like a dog). I took off my spectacles to rub my tired eyes, thinking, “Not much longer hopefully, and I’ll see clearly all the time.” And just before I replaced my glasses on my long, sharp nose (the other bane of my existence), I caught sight of the brilliant wash of blue sky, the splash of still-green grass, the grey smudge of creeping cat. I saw the world in a way I’ve never seen it before. It was rather beautiful. I have despised my weak eyes all my life, but suddenly, I wondered if I really wanted them fixed after all.

I mean, how many people are born with the ability to see the world like a living watercolor painting? I can change my sight at will, and step into a softer world where harshness is blurred and impressions, not details, are the important things. For the first time ever, I saw my near-sightedness not as a defect, but as a gift, and one I might not be ready to lose at that.

For every thing you gain, there is something you must give up. I suddenly have the crazy impulse to go around with my natural eyesight as much as possible, though probably not far beyond my house. I wouldn’t try to drive with watercolor vision, for example. Because if I have this surgery sometime in the near future, I will see the world just like everyone else.

All my life I’ve sought after a miracle, and now when it’s almost in my grasp, I start to question if it would make me any happier or better than I already am. Maybe I like myself this way.

I wish I could have taken a snapshot of what I saw to make me think these thoughts. But the photo would have been clear, and nothing like the work of art that I saw through these imperfect myopic eyes.

Poppies, Flowers

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Reintegration or Living in Two Places at Once

Note: I wrote these on two different days. While trying to edit them down in to one post that I wasn’t sure I would ever actually publish, I pressed the button that I thought was “save draft”. It was not. I tried to frantically delete the post before anyone saw. No such luck.

I got enough feedback that I’ve decided to leave my less-than-perfect entries as they are (for posterity, or something). If nothing else they remind me that I’m an imperfect, scatter-brained, accident-prone girl, who obviously doesn’t know “publish” from “save draft”.

I have to laugh at myself a little. I considered these entries too raw and unpolished to be made public. But they do, however, show the progression of my mood honestly, albeit bluntly.

Oh, well. At least life will never be dull. Continue reading

Let Us Cross Over

In about 10 hours, I am leaving for Ukraine. I should probably sleep sometime between now and then. And finish packing. (No, I’m still not done.)

A few days ago, I looked up this phrase online, “now let us cross over”, thinking it was part of an old hymn or Scripture or something. I thought it might be a nice mantra to keep in mind for my trip, since I’m crossing over the ocean. What I found was not what I expected. What I found were the last words of Stonewall Jackson. After he realized the war was over, he spoke these words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Those words seemed to me when I read them, a welcome into a place of peace, a safe haven, that state of mind when all the tension is gone from your body…like after a really good massage when you are so relaxed and loopy you almost seem drunk.

It made me think of summer, cool breezes, bird song, and wind through leaves. Lazy afternoons, sweet tea, and teenage dreams.

It gave me visions of paradise. A place without war. A place of rest. As if a whiff of memory still lingers on those words and I could smell it.

And then I read that Stonewall Jackson was shot and eventually killed by friendly fire just after speaking those words. Cheery thought, that… “Let us cross over” indeed.

As the time for my departure charges toward me like a raging bull, I feel strangely calm. Except for that time I thought I didn’t have proof of insurance. Then I felt like I was in a red outfit trapped with an angry bull. Other than that I’ve been fine. And I did find my insurance card, in case anyone was wondering.

I feel like I am going home.

But I also feel this is only the beginning, like walking through a doorway.

As though this is only a shadow of what is to come.

Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

Dedicated to my dad, Robert Sherman.