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Posts Tagged ‘senses’

What if you woke up one morning and your vision wasn’t the same?  How would you adjust your day, your work and your attitude?

Last week I crossed paths with a small garter snake that had only one eye.  Even though snakes rely on vibration and scent to track their prey, I wondered how it would manage.  Coincidentally, the next day, an eye infection left me with no vision in one eye and blurred sight in the other.  

Many wild creatures, such as the ospreys above, rely on good vision in both their eyes to make the fine judgements in distance required to capture prey.  Others rely on both their eyes to avert becoming prey themselves.  Humans who have lost sight in one eye quickly adapt to any loss in depth perception by moving their heads slightly in order to make a more accurate judgement of distances involved.  In humans at least, it would seem that the greatest benefit to having two eyes is simply in having a spare.  

 Blurred vision is another problem.  It can make a familiar walk in the woods an intimidating experience unless a much slower pace than usual is adopted.   Many of the beautiful details in nature are also lost when vision is blurred.   

However, when vision is impaired, sounds and textures can become a source of both information and pleasure.  The sound of rain falling, the soft texture of spring grass underfoot and the warmth of a spring breeze on your face can be soothing and refreshing in ways that may have been overlooked before.

Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul.
~ Ovid

Our immediate surroundings become more important when our eyesight is  impaired.  Unable to look clearly into the distance or quickly shift our gaze from one focal point to another, we’re also more compelled to focus on just one thing at a time.  Since everything seems to take more time to execute, there is a greater need to simplify and prioritize activities.   Fortunately, once limitations are accepted, the transition becomes easier, bringing with it a more peaceful existence. 

As my normal vision returns, I wonder if something that was found this past week will be lost again.  I’ll have to wait and see.

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We’re entering the darkest week of the year in Nova Scotia, when each day is less than nine hours in length.  This morning, the sun rose at 7:45, almost two hours after I set out for a walk along the Salt Marsh Trail. 

I often walk in the dark with the intention of seeing the sun rise while out in the middle of nature.  If you’ve never risen early and braved the elements outside in the pre-dawn light, you’re missing a wonderful experience.  It’s one that engages all the senses. 

Too often, we really only on our eyesight.  We only trust what we can see directly in front of us, and fail to engage our other senses when confronted with the unknown.

Walks in the darkness make us perk our ears more.  The scent of trees in the mist and the sounds of waking birds and rushing tide waters all add to our perception of place and time. 

Even on moonless nights, white objects stand out in the darkness.  I wondered what creature attacked this seagull when I came across these feathers on my walk yesterday morning.  A coyote?  Not knowing what’s lurking in the darkness is part of life’s adventure.  The challenge of facing our fears, whether real or imagined, shouldn’t prevent us from moving forward along the trail.

On this morning’s walk, the light drizzle soon changed to pouring rain.  The droplets were caught by the flash of the camera and capture a bit of the magic that is felt at this special time of day when most are still asleep and warm in their beds. 

The quotation below is from Canadian portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Although digital photographs no longer require darkness for their development phase, his words still hold true.

Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
~ Yousuf Karsh

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