Regaining Sight

by Laureen on February 20, 2013


Frost glistens

Everything sparkles.

Willow branches silhouetted against a late afternoon sky. Green-gold hay spilled on the dark highway. Wide rectangular road signs. West Flat Road. Hillandale. Newton Lake. Val Marie.

I’m back from my old city, where I went for a three-minute laser procedure to restore rapidly-disintegrating vision in my left eye. In 2008, cataract surgery left me with a genius ability to see, and a 10% chance of scarring. 10% chances R us. By late last year, I could no longer distinguish one star from another in the sky. Two weeks ago, I only knew what highway speed limits were when I was on top of them.

Empty roads with vanishing points like pencils. Sharp tracery of road salt delineating the lines of my car. Snowy owls.

It probably took six months too long for me to make the appointment, and I waited almost another four months for it to arrive. Then, cold and difficult travel on winter-stormed roads. At one point I had the car partially turned around to give up and come home. I decided to try just a bit longer. To an artist, blindness is almost the worst thing imagined.

Wind-swept fields of ice. Frost describing space on distant hills. Snow carved into waves, immobile.

In the morning I sat in waiting rooms, examining rooms, treatment rooms, offices. Eye drops, tests, note-taking. Wait. Nurse, technician, administrator. Wait. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal detachment. Did I leave it too long? Wait.

Hands on a clock in the Val Marie grocery store. My old pet cats’ whiskers. One touch of scarlet on a new painting – somehow I put it there even in all that blur.

The doctor is kind, generous, very skilled. Finally, there is no anesthetic, no nurse, just a little room in a big hospital where the doctor’s coat lies thrown on the floor and mine does the same. I lean in to a machine looking just like all the others that examined my eyes today. There is a series of small beeps. And I can see. As I leave, my feet barely touch the ground.

The blue of the sky. Your beautiful, glowing face.

How much we take for granted. How much is irreplaceable and we never really look. How glad I am to have another chance.

The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. I hope you will find yourself and your spirit reflected in it.






Eve Kotyk February 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

And this beautiful blog post brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes when I look up from doing something close, I see in the middle distance things suddenly so fresh, so bright, so lovely. I see anew and it is amazing.

Not being able to see — terribly scarey. I’m so glad all is well, now, with your eyes.

Laureen February 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

Thanks you so much! It’s been a few very happy days. Now just one more cataract surgery in summer or early fall and I will be able to see your beautiful face from here 🙂

Miriam February 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

“Frost glistens” What a restful vista view.

Laureen February 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

It is a beautiful place. Come and visit sometime!

Jan February 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Wow! I’m so glad it all turned out well.

Laureen February 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Jan, thanks for your thoughts! I feel like a hawk – all I need now is wings 🙂

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