Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hind Sight...Fore Sight...and not much in between

I had one of those "a-ha" moments today, which I allowed to roll around in my head a bit because it seemed so logical and delightfully metaphorical.  A reading of my past that seemed to provide insight and new knowledge.  But, like many of these moments, it also seems like the kind of handy b.s. you spin in grad school/art school because it feels good, but might not really go anywhere.

Let me segue to the lead:  Last summer, I spent most of my time largely sightless.  Last winter, I quickly descended into the third ring of manic obsession, and became a perfumista.  HO! thought I as I brushed my teeth this morning, you don't suppose the loss of my vision led me to expanding my use of my sense of smell?  do you??


About a year and a half ago, funny things started happening with my vision.  I thought at first that I had a problem keeping my glasses clean.  Then I realized that I had trouble spots even when wearing contacts.  By that time, my eyes felt a bit...well, itchy in an irritated way, and I decided it was my *eyeballs* that needed cleaning.  Indeed, my eyes, especially the one, had started producing extra goo.  So, clear it off or out, and move on.


I was driving to work one morning and it dawned on me I only had about 50% of the available area of vision out of my left eye.  It was a beautiful spring day, the kind when the trees have truly leafed out, and suddenly it's green, green, green.  And I had trouble seeing the trees.  (Which meant--slowly dawning on me--that perhaps I wasn't in the best shape to drive.)  No matter, just two weeks left until the end of the school year.  So, I perservered...

And ended up not seeing at all in one eye, and only somewhat in the other.  Turns out my eyes really WERE irritated.  By amoebas.  Living.  On.  My.  Eyeballs.

Things you need to know about me:  1) I spent precious free time studying to be a master gardener--and loved it.  I rescue plants, for heaven's sake.   2) I have spent considerable time and energy as, and still identify myself as, a filmmaker.  3) I read and write for a living as well as for joy.  4)  I live a not so secret life as a decent amateur musician.  I play flute, so of course I rely on printed music.  And am a demon sight reader.

Erm, noticing a pattern of dominant sense here???


So there I am, at the bathroom sink, concocting my would-be brilliant moment for the day.  And the bookend moments replay themselves: 

  • Last spring:  me, going out to garden, thinking that if I can't read, or play music, or take a picture, I can at least trim a shrub and pull some weeds.  But I take clippers to branch, and realize 1. a safe cut is a somewhat iffy proposition, for both the plant and my digits, and --worse-- 2. I have no way of calculating an artful cut.  I can't judge the effect of the cut I'm about to try, can't use depth and periphery to look at overall effect, can't even think of its effect on the branch.  The best I can hope for is cutting a random branch without causing harm to limb, phyto or mammalian.
  • This spring:  me, walking up the front path, seeing a grass frond sticking up among the irises.  I think.  I instinctively reach in, am right, and yank it up (roots included, natch).  The impact of what I was just able to do flummoxes me, and I nearly cry.  
And I think, duh. 


Oh, but wouldn't I love to let it lie right there.  But I don't think I can.  Because, truth be told, I tend to operate in waves.  Highs and lows of energy.  Intense projects, then intensely down time.  (Oh, filmmaking was SO good for that.  Academia, of course, had a built in rolling terrain of activity.  Music, too, for that matter.  No wonder I didn't ultimately like HR.)  Intense delving into learning about things.  (I did so love being a documentary researcher.)  And, from childhood, a collector and a saver.  

Ultimately, it was probably just inevitable that researching my grandmother's Norrell would lead to a collection of decants, full bottles, partial bottles, duplicates for swapping or gifting, a penchant for saying "chypre."  (My kids speak French, so they got me to say it correctly.)  I am simply left wondering if I should invest in a small refrigerator to hold them properly, rather than the shelves or boxes that do such a nice job for the books, the vintage jewelry, the vintage dishes, the vintage tools, the rocks from places I've been....

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