Once in a while, someone asks if I still take pictures. I’m never quite sure what to say.
As I move through the world, I still notice things I’d like to photograph. I imagine how I would frame this or marvel at how the light is catching that, but I’ve pretty much given up trying to photograph any of it.
Because I can no longer see very well. Ironically, it’s all of my own doing.
I had LASIK surgery earlier this year. I walked away from it with 20/20 vision… and a world that is always coming in and out of focus.
Several different eye doctors have cheerfully confirmed that the surgery made my astigmatism more pronounced. I can see well enough to drive, but not really to see street signs or license plates.
Happens all the time, they assure me.
And then they try to sell me glasses.
It is so frustrating. Doing detailed work on the computer, watching TV, picking out the details in a landscape … all of it is elusive. I see it, but then it’s gone. I squint so much I now have lines between my brows and at a certain point in the evening I can’t read at all – even with reading glasses perched on top of my nose.
Every time I try to capture an image, it comes out blurry. At first I just thought it was because I couldn’t see very well through the view finder. I’ve tried both my DSLR and my top notch iPhone. And the images lack sharpness and clarity… or heck, if it’s there I can’t see it.
I’m angry with myself for spending all the money on a procedure that freed me from contacts but has cut me off from hobbies that I love. I’m angry with every doctor who tells me this isn’t a big deal.
I’m just plain angry.
Tonight, the eastern sky was suffused with the most amazing pink and orange light. My phone was in my pocket, so I took a couple of pictures.
I don’t know if they’re any good. But I know the sky was beautiful and I was fiercely glad to be standing under it, listening to the birds and feeling the deck cool beneath my bare feet.
Maybe all of this – these pictures, this writing, this life – will never be crystal clear. But perhaps I’ll learn to satisfied with the brief moments of clarity I’m given.