Sometime while I was in Ireland, my vision improved to the point where the world got deeper. I remember saying something to Bradley about being able to see that the clouds were layered, and I think at that point I at least partially thought that I was noticing different types of clouds on top of each other, but there’s definitely more than that. The clouds are deep and wide and long. And it isn’t only the clouds. I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on the road as I drive, because I find myself staring at the sky, the trees, the mountains, and all the space between them and beyond them. There is so much depth there.
I feel very inarticulate whenever I try to talk about it, and in person it is usually accompanied by a lot of arm motions and facial expressions. Beth was over a couple of days ago, helping me move some railroad ties to rim the back flowerbeds. While we took a break, I looked up and said, “Look at that sky.” I have attempted to tell her about my new perceptions already, so she grinned at me and said, “Those clouds with all their 3Dness.” “Yeah,” I said. “And did you know that there are trees behind the other trees? And that the mountains are really far away?” Really, it sounds ridiculous. Of course the mountains are far away and the forest isn’t just a flat pattern of branches. I would have told you that I’ve known that all my life. I just know it differently now.
Believe it or not, all this is because I no longer have a lens in my right eye. For anyone outside of the family that is following along, being born with a partially detached lens in my right eye made it so that I’ll never have focused vision in that eye, and my vision was bad enough in that eye that I didn’t really have depth perception. I couldn’t see those 3D images that were so big when I was younger and 3D movies were generally a waste of money. I am the girl who knocked over a glass at almost every meal growing up, and who gallantly jumped for a ball, which happened to make it to where they stuck me in far left field in phys ed, that people later said flew multiple feet over my head. A few years ago, my lens detached completely, taking my retina with it, and the doctor removed the lens during my retinal reattachment surgery.
Because I was younger than the majority of people needing a new lens, and fake lenses have a limited life span, the specialist I saw wasn’t excited about doing lens replacement surgery. I’ve just been wearing a strong contact in that right eye. I guess that the inner workings of my eye, no longer hindered by a very faulty lens, are slowly improving. My eyesight definitely improved as soon as the lens was out—I would get occasional glimpses of depth when watching 3D movies with friends, for example–but I had not anticipated seeing improvements now, over four years after the lens was removed.
Before this, the world looked kind of like some of the stop animation you see, where the scenery is layers of cardboard that move across each other, though will all the colors and intricacies of real life. Now there is so much space between the layers, and the layers themselves are deep. I’m going to guess that your world is deeper yet than mine, since I still don’t have focused vision in that eye and small things have an annoying tendency to disappear if I look at them through just that eye for too long, but man, I will take it.
While I am constantly amazed by clouds (they are ssooo very gorgeous), I also am frequently distracted by trees and the way the branches change as I move past them and the way the landscape behind them move. Have I mentioned how hard it is to describe? Trees have always been beautiful, but the size and depth of them now is incredible. Maybe it helps that there are trees at any distance here, so they help fill and enhance this amazing new range I see, much like the clouds do for the sky. When I got home from Ireland, I thought that spending a month looking at the beauty of a brand new place helped me recognize the beauty of the place I returned to. There is some truth to that—time away pulled me out of the place that is sometimes like a second skin, and it is good to find fresh eyes for familiar sights–but I think there was more than that.
I think that I’m just seeing my home in ways that I couldn’t before. How exciting that the world gets more beautiful as I age, that there continues to be new things.
So there is my simple and amazing new pleasure for you. Jewel, I will see you in a week! I’m excited to bring my New Amazing Super Vision to your part of the world. I’ll do my best to keep my eyes on the road until I get there.