Today my daughter-in-law is having lasik surgery, getting her eyes fixed. My son had this done last year to his great delight. And my husband too, back when the technology was brand new!
When I first met my husband in high school he wore thick glasses, and had done so since childhood. Those thick glasses would steam up when he played tennis or lingered too long in a kiss. I thought that adorable. For our Jr Prom he took me to the Bali Hai and after dinner we sat on the harbor looking at the city lights across the water. He took off his glasses, staring at that horizon, and told me he wished I could see how beautifully the light blended together.
Decades later, he no longer needs those glasses, his vision perfected. I, on the other hand, can no longer hold the book far enough away to read it, and have eye glasses scattered everywhere. I think of this as God's mercy, that as I age I cannot see clearly my own reflection, but rather see myself in a softened glow. Ignorance is bliss! But it is an ironic twist that my husband saw me in soft-focus all those years in my youthfulness and now, in my old age, he sees me clearly!
They have encouraged me to get my eyes fixed too, but I do not go willingly 'under the knife'. The rarest consequences always seem to find me there. My vision will have to be fixed in other ways.
Monet Refuses the OperationDoctor, you say that there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
from the bridge it covers...
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
...Doctor, if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.
~ Lisel Mueller ~
When Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?", the blind man looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:24-25