That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.
It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.
Today is the birthday of Helen Keller, who could see nothing physically, but who had vision that has blessed many. She might have held this shell without knowing its color and spots, but knowing in tender touch its roundness, spirals and ridges, the precious point where they ended, the way it nestled in her palm and told silent stories of the sea. If we are attentive and tuned to all our senses, we may find new dimensions of beauty in our surroundings. One way of showing gratitude is by using all the senses I have been given to be aware of the world around me, to have vision beyond sight.
I write a great deal about vision, particularly attentiveness and seeing with the eyes of the heart. Most of my posts here on Stones and Feathers are related to that in some way. But one does not require perfect physical visual acuity to acquire keen insight. I know a man who is legally blind due to a genetic retina degeneration that presented suddenly when he was 10 years old. His vision is severely limited. He lives in a world of shapes and blurred edges. The blurred photo above represents this although it still has more detail than he would find. However, he has a sharper awareness of his surroundings than anyone else. Seeing with his heart gives him a depth of understanding and perception that many whose eyes work well never develop. I have seen him meeting challenges in getting his education, dealing with issues of transportation because he does not drive, working with his hands in his kitchen and garden. I watched his face as he repeated marriage vows to the love of his life. I admire his determination and faith. I love the hugs only a son can give his mother. I am grateful for his inner vision.