I had cataract surgery on my right eye about a week ago, and I now have almost 20/20 vision with an eye that has been terribly weak since childhood. A new lens has been inserted in place of the old one, apparently, and in addition to vastly improved vision, I also am seeing colors that I didn’t even know existed–the river outside out condo window, formerly greenish-gray is now bluish-silver. Stop lights are exceedingly red and green. And the bright colors in my wardrobe startle me–is my dress really that blue?
Of course, there was a time–surely not too many decades ago–when I saw all these colors in their true radiance. But I had forgotten. It happens gradually, doesn’t it–like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, who sits there and dies if the water is heated gradually. I wonder–what else have I forgotten? What else has gradually left me, that I have “adjusted” to? And have I really adjusted? Are there dreams, fragments of the self, that have been left behind, but are still alive in me? Are there people I have left behind, or who have left me behind, whose on-going love I subconsciously covet? We forget, but we don’t. Everything, on some level, remains. The colors have returned, through a medical miracle. What else is there, on some other plane, that might be restored? What can never be restored, but will continue to haunt me?
I have become newly thankful for my sight. Presently, the world is a kind of playground of color, and I am awakened to the incredible beauty of the autumn leaves as well as the man-made brilliance of a bright yellow rain jacket. And now I’m wondering how soon my new sense of gratitude will diminish, and I’ll begin to take all this beauty for granted. Will it be like when I travel to a new country, and everything seems utterly fascinating–the first time? Will it be like finding a new love, and then understanding that every day won’t be like the first day?
I’m going to do my best to remain thankful, to keep seeing the world in all of its glory. But that won’t be easy, I know. Each day when I open my eyes, I’ll try to see anew and to remember that vision itself is complex and miraculous and should never to be taken for granted.