I rarely look at my glasses, because I am usually looking though them. Taking them off, and trying to draw them (while wearing an old pair) I found myself wishing I hadn’t tried. Apart from the the arms which hold them to my head there is not much substance to draw. Just transparent glass, which creates slight distortions and throws subtle shadows. Not a sketch I feel particularly pleased with. And yet these apparently boring lenses are essential to my life these days. I can’t do a lot of the things I enjoy without them. Not designed to be looked at, but looked through, they receive the light from my surroundings and refract it to create an image I can understand with my aging eyes.
The lenses in my glasses may appear nothing, insubstantial and transparent, (and not much to look at) but their refractive magic transforms my world.
For me poetry can have often have this refracting effect. This morning Mindful Balance – a blog I follow everyday- posted a few lines by the poet Mary Oliver.
The dream of my life
is to lie down by a slow river
and stare at the light in the trees –
To learn something by being nothing
a little while but the rich
lens of attention.
Mary Oliver, Entering the Kingdom