I'm nearsighted enough that it's illegal for me to drive without my glasses. I can't make out the titles on my bookshelves from more than about a foot away.
At Christmas, though, I like to take the glasses off for a minute while looking at a decorated tree; the little light bulbs become indistinct rounds of fuzzy color, bleeding into the blurred mass of what used to be individual green needles. In a way, it’s far more beautiful than the crisp, clear image I see when I put my glasses back on; it has an air of magic. It’s the same with stars. With glasses, they appear to be the tiny pinpricks of light that they are, but if I take my glasses off, they appear bigger as each bit of light expands in blurriness.
Inevitably, though, I put my glasses back on. I suspect it’s not good for my eyes to be straining to bring things into focus, and there is so much that I don’t see with my glasses off – stars might appear larger, but fewer of them are visible to me; lights might be prettier when they’re fuzzy, but I can’t make out the ornaments I’ve collected over a lifetime, and the beauty of the tree itself is diminished. Besides all that, the blurred image is a false one; the stars aren't really any bigger.
As I sat writing in a local coffee shop one night, I had my glasses off; I don’t need them for reading or writing. At one point, I sat back and looked around. My glasses sat on the table as I observed the out-of-focus room and the street beyond the windows, the lights outside expanded and blurred, and I found it beautiful. But then I started thinking... and this is what I wrote:
I take off my glasses,
and instantly the world changes.
The face across the table –
the cup of chai half a foot away –
begin the transformation
to blurry indistinction.
The lights in the night bloom
to fuzzy orbs twice their size
as the world transcends
into an ever-increasing impressionism –
a beautiful flurry of color and light and dark.
There’s allurement in the half-truths
of how things really are;
a magic in the bleary stars.
It calls and we answer –
beckons, and we come.
And yet –
and yet –