Hard Times Come Again No More

No, it is not your eyes. The photo above is a clear photo of a blurry moment.

The photo above was taken two nights ago while I was taking photos of the sun striking some clouds over a Walmart parking lot and the car door that I was holding myself steady against decided to remind me that it was not all the way open. It is an inadvertent action shot.

When I looked at the photo, at first to delete it, I recognized the scene like I was seeing an old friend that I had not hung out with in a few years: my old, uncorrected vision. From age seven till two years ago, the photo above pretty neatly captures what the world looked like when I took my glasses off, which I did quite frequently, as my eyes were often tired.

For me to tell you that the world was blurry was for you to tell me that rain is wet.

What I was trying to capture was more fragile, more rare: the sky as it changed, sunlight as it flickered across the clouds on a summer’s evening, a living reminder that I am not a talented nature writer.

My vision was frail. Before the laser surgeries, I was no longer seeing colors more subtle than the boldest primaries, which made this common dating moment a specific torture: “Do you like this color on me? I bought it for tonight … .” Everything was either brown or not-brown.

Anyone who is near-sighted knows what the world looks like to them; anyone who does not, does not. I have friends who are color-blind; I do not know what the world looks like in their eyes, but I do not need to know what the world looks like for them, I only need to know that it looks different. (One friend is such a talented describer of things that I regretted not being color-blind while he detailed his experience of life with that condition.)

By high school, my glasses were heavy and frequently broken. In college, some helpful optometrist thought wire frames might be lighter. They are. By two years ago, I was wearing a pair that was slightly larger than John Lennon’s circle glasses, but the lenses were so thick they could have been mistaken for ice cubes. The strain the heavy lenses placed on the frames ruined pair after pair; the structural integrity of the wire frames would be destroyed.

I hated wearing heavy glasses. By high school I took up the affectation of not needing them, because, as a near-sighted person, I could see light and dark and shapes and so I could negotiate my way from classroom to classroom. I stopped the affectation one day when I did not recognize my own sister among the shapes and colors of our high school halls.

Now I wear readers.

The photo was supposed to look like this:

Click for full size.

Click for full size.

And what I really wanted to photograph was the clouds as light struck them:
Click for full size

Click for full size

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for July 18 asks us to reflect on the word, “Frail.”

For some reason, on seeing that word, I heard Stephen Foster’s song “Hard Times Come Again No More,” because it is the only song I can think of with the word “frail” in it: “While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,/There are frail forms fainting at the door.” Bob Dylan:

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