Walking. And harvesting light.

69° F. 4:30 a.m. My daybreak walk @ Cove Island Park. 410 consecutive days. Like in a Row.

Dark Sky app: 93% cloud cover.

It’s a quiet morning.

A solo fisherman.

A runner. Male. Tights. Headband. Could pass for Richard Simmons. Smartphone strapped to his left arm. And white, wired earbuds. Does anyone use wired earbuds anymore?

And then a brisk walker with a Tuk pulled down over his ears, a North Face coat and gloves. (~70° F. Cancer?)

And me. Man-Child laboring under a massive backpack, containing more gear than you’ll find in stock at your local BestBuy, 98% of which will go unused on the morning walk. But it’s all gotta come, just-in-case.

My eye catches rapid movement, then color over the water. Ellen Meloy: “The complex human eye harvests light. It perceives seven to ten million colors through a synaptic flash: one-tenth of a second from retina to brain.” Lori shared this, and The Mind keeps returning to it in a loop.

Miracle, that my eye spotted this creature in twilight. I’m away at a distance, I quickly swap lenses, and then approach. She’s skittish, and one would wonder why. [Read more…]

Miracle. All of It.

The complex human eye harvests light. It perceives seven to ten million colors through a synaptic flash: one-tenth of a second from retina to brain. Homo sapiens gangs up 70 percent of its sense receptors solely for vision, to anticipate danger and recognize reward, but also — more so — for beauty. We have eyes refined by the evolution of predation. We use a predator’s eyes to marvel at the work of Titian or the Grand Canyon bathed in the copper light of a summer sunset.

— Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 5:40 am, June 6, 2021. 69° F. Norwalk, CT
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
  • Quote via Brain Pickings. Thank you Lori for sharing.

One pair of eyes is simply not enough


Notes:

  • DK. Daybreak. December 9, 2020. 6:16, 6:52 & 7:00 am. 30° F feels like 23° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford CT
  • Post Title: One pair of eyes is simply not enough. Mary Ruefle, from “The Life of a Poet: Mary Ruefle” (Library of Congress, May 15, 2015)

Sunday Morning

DSCF1156 - geese

June 7, 2020. Daybreak. 5:14 a.m. 62° F.  Wind: 9 mph, Gusts: 27 mph. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.

Paul Klee: “One eye sees, the other feels

Go on.

Thirty years ago, I was remembering, an eminent writer had given me some unsolicited advice.

Just look at an orange, she said.

Go on looking at it. For hours.

Then put down what you see.

– C. P. Snow, Strangers and Brothers: Last Things


Photo: anka zhuravleva

Sunday Morning

One of the earliest texts on the eye—its structure, its diseases, its treatments—Ten Treatises on Ophthalmology, was written in the ninth century by the Arab physician Hunayn ibn Ishaq. The individual components of the eye, he wrote, all have their own nature and they are arranged so that they are in cosmological harmony, reflecting, in turn, the mind of God.

~ Colum McCann, Apeirogon: A Novel (Random House, February 25, 2020)


Photo: A Photographer’s Eye, Nicholas Nixon

It’s been a long day

I remember, I remember … I closed my eyes. Eyelids are really just flesh curtains. Your eyes are always “on,” always looking; when you close them, you’re watching the thin, veined skin of your inner eyelid rather than staring out at the world. It’s not a comforting thought. In fact, if I thought about it for long enough, I’d probably want to pluck out my own eyes, to stop looking, to stop seeing all the time. The things I’ve seen cannot be unseen. The things I’ve done cannot be undone.

~ Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.


Photo: Mulholland Dr. 2001 (Naomi Watts) via i wanna see your eyes.  Related Posts: It’s been a long day

Good Friday


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “arrived quietly…playing it cool. If we hadn’t been looking we’d never have seen (them). I wondered then and still wonder what giants we miss by not looking.” ~ Leif Enger, Virgil Wander 
  • Photo: A group of deer pause in a field in Algermissen, the district of Hildesheim, Germany, on Wednesday. (Photo by Moritz Frankenberg, wsj.com, April 12, 2019)

 

20/20

tatyana-tolstaya

My grandfather Aleksey Tolstoy, a famous Russian writer…committed himself wholly to literature… I didn’t start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one. Although I happily swam in imaginary expanses, I had no words to describe them. Then one fine day, when I was thirty-two years old, I decided to correct my myopia by undergoing surgery in the famous eye clinic… This was in 1983, before they used lasers for the procedure, as they do now, but instead made corneal incisions by hand, with a regular razor blade. The incisions took three long months to heal. All this time, while the eyes recuperated, you could see things only poorly, approximately, through tears that constantly streamed like rain on the windowpane…You had to sit in complete darkness… any light caused insufferable eye pain…The agony was so great that no analgesics, no sleeping pills brought any relief…At dusk my eyes were ablaze, and the temporary respite of night was interrupted by accidental glances at the stars, their light burning like fiery needles. Finally it was all I could do to sit at home wearing dark sunglasses, the black drapes closed, living by touch. Not a single word—neither handwritten nor typed—did my eyes take in during that prison sentence; only music, invisible in its essence, saved me from this existential desert. All that was left of the world was music and pain.

Gradually, something unfamiliar began to happen to my mind. The blindness was still near-total. I didn’t yet dare take off my sunglasses to peer outside, but in my mind’s eye I began to see bright visions from my past. They were not simply visions as before, similar to dreams—no, these were words, phrases, pages of text, plotlines; it was as if someone awoke in my head, a second me, one who had been slumbering until now. Visual experiences now came with a narrative; in fact, they were inseparable from it. If the wording wasn’t exact, then the imagery it conjured seemed obscured by dust or fog, and only the right words cleared it away…

My external eyes were still awaiting the sunrise, while my internal ones were looking around, seeking out details. Here is one. Here is another. Here is a whole bunch. As soon as I was able to emerge from my room into the dim light of the table lamp, I typed up my first-ever short story in great haste. I knew just how to do it—what to write, what not to write—and I understood that what remains unwritten possesses a special kind of power, a certain gravity by absence, similar to a magnetic force that can both attract and repel, a force we can’t see but that is nonetheless there.

This heretofore invisible, hidden world was now within my reach. I could enter it at any point, but it had particular doors—with keys of sound, with lock picks of intonation. The doors could be opened with love. Or with tears.

One day, all of a sudden, my sliced-up eyes could see again; my vision returned completely and immediately, 20/20, as promised. And this was bliss! Meanwhile, I found that the second world, having first appeared to me in darkness, was here to stay; it turned out to be a multifaceted underside of so-called reality, a dungeon full of treasure, an aetherial world through the looking glass, a mysterious box with passcodes to all enigmas, an address book with the exact coordinates of those who never existed.

I don’t know its geography, its mountains, or its seas; it’s so vast, it must be limitless. Or perhaps it’s not simply one world—perhaps there are many. They are unpredictable; they can show themselves to you, or not. Some days they may not let you inside: Sorry, the doors are locked, we’re on holiday. But to the patient and the devoted, they will in the end always yield. The doors will open, and you won’t know what you will come across until you enter.

~ Tatyana Tolstaya, excerpts from “20/20” in “Aetherial Worlds: Stories” (Knopf, March 20, 2018)


Photo of Tatyana Tolstaya at LitHub April 6, 2018

She suggests a minimum of one hour of sustained gaze (Right! Errata, 1 min?)

“Try not to blink,” says the performance artist Marina Abramovic. “The more you blink, the more you think.” In the spring of 2010, Abramovic spent over 700 hours looking into the eyes of more than 1,500 visitors to the Museum of Modern Art. Many wept openly. Sometimes Abramovic cried, too. To really experience the power of eye contact, she suggests a minimum of one hour of sustained gaze.

Place two chairs three and a half feet apart, and sit facing someone. Do not talk or touch. Focus your eyes between that person’s brows, so that you can see both pupils simultaneously. Don’t look away. Eye contact elicits avoidance behavior in many species, but humans are exquisitely attuned to it. Even newborns will look longer at people staring straight at them than they will at those with averted eyes…

To really see — and feel connected to — someone, you need to be still in mind and body. Start by slowing your breath until it is “almost unnoticeable,” Abramovic says. You’ll undergo all manner of discomfort during your encounter, including sore muscles, dry eyes and niggling thoughts. Don’t dwell on them.

Abramovic thinks a scarcity of eye contact is crippling modern culture. While we need to look at our loved ones more, she says that gazing into the eyes of strangers is potentially more transformative, what she calls “one of the most powerful experiences you can have.”…

Prepare for a rush of emotion. Abramovic felt surges of profound tenderness during the months she spent locking eyes with anyone who wanted to sit across from her. “I felt their loneliness and pain,” she says. “My heart was bursting.”

~ Malia Wollan, from How to Make Soulful Eye Contact (NY Times, April 28, 2017)


Notes:

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