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THREE DAYS TO SEE (page 2)
Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see.
Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long
walk in the woods, and I asked her what she had observed. "Nothing in
particular," she replied. I might have been incredulous had I not been
accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing
How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see find hundreds of things to
interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass
my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough, shaggy
bark of a pine. In spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of
a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter's sleep. I feel the
delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable
convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me.
Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree
and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have the
cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers. To me a lush carpet of
pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian
rug. To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending drama, the action
of which streams through my finger tips.
At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get
so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by
sight. Yet, those who have eyes apparently see little. The panorama of color
and action which fills the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps, to
appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not,
but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used
only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life.
If I were the president of a university I should establish a compulsory course
in "How to Use Your Eyes." The professor would try to show his pupils how they
could add joy to their lives by really seeing what passes unnoticed before
them. He would try to awake their dormant and sluggish faculties.