Sunday, August 12, 2012

seeing--by annie dillard

"On the other hand, many newly sighted people speak well of the world, and teach us how dull is our own vision. To one patient, a human hand, unrecognized, is 'something bright and then holes.' Shown a bunch of grapes, a boy calls out, 'It is dark, blue and shiny....It isn't smooth, it has bumps and hollows.' A little girl visits a garden. 'She is greatly astonished, and can scarcely be persuaded to answer, stands speechless in front of a tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as "the tree with the lights in it." ' Some delight in their sight and give themselves over to the visual world. Of a patient just after her bandages were removed, her doctor writes, 'The first things to attract her attention were her own hands; she looked at them very closely, moved them repeatedly to and fro, bent and stretched the fingers, and seemed greatly astonished at the sight.' One girl was eager to tell her blind friend that 'men do not really look like trees at all,' and astounded to discover that her every visitor had a different face."

"Finally, a twenty-two-old girl was dazzled by the world's brightness and kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but, 'the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly exclaimed: 'Oh God! How beautiful!' "

-annie dillard from "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"


  1. Beautiful post Dana. I look forward to the day that makayla can see me in heaven for the first time and know I am her mother by looking at me, not just by my scent and touch. God made us such beautiful things!!

    1. (this is Dana, by the way)

      Wow, Audra--what profound experience related to this! Isn't the body an incredible and beautiful thing? I look forward to that day for you and your daughter as well.