I was going to start posting previews of my upcoming book, but something unusual happened today that I feel warrants some reflection. I went swimming today for about fifteen minutes. The pool was crowded because the day was hot. Walked home, did some work on my computer, then put on my contact lenses. It had been about an hour since I left the chlorine bath that is a communal pool, and my lenses stung slightly as I put them in, but that’s happened to everyone who has ever worn contact lenses.
I left, got my coffee, found a table near the water at a nearby mall where I do most of my reading and writing, and proceeded to read and write. It was probably about two hours later that I noticed my eyes getting foggy. That is another of those common occurrences that my fellow contact wearing people are familiar with. Sometimes you just get some crud in your eyes and the lenses get blurry. Usually you can blink it out or rinse it out with tears. I kept working for about an hour and the weird haze over my eyes was a little bit too persistent.
I returned home, went to the bathroom immediately to remove my lenses. When I did, my eyes started burning. I tried dropping some lens solution unto both eyes, which burned more. I flushed my eyes with water which also burned my eyes. And worse, when I managed to stop tearing and keep my eyes open long enough to focus, I saw that my vision was still clouded over by that haze.
Ok. The problem is not with my contact lenses, there’s something wrong with my eyes. My best guess? Some kind of chemical reaction with crowded pool water and all-in-one lens solution and possibly the lady who lit up a cigarette next to me at the mall all add up to a layer of film over the corneas that obscures my vision. It actually feels similar to when I had to get my eyes dilated for an optometrist exam.
I figured this would eventually go away, so I went about my daily business. Fed my dog, fed myself, sent some emails. Vision still screwed up. Now I’m wondering at this point if I’ve somehow permanently scarred the surface of my eyes.
While feeding my fish I noticed something. Two lights reflecting off the surface of the fish tank are surrounded by two perfect, circular rainbows that create a figure 8 hovering in front of the tank. My guess is from some kind of oily film on my eyes; you’ve seen how oil floating in a puddle of water refracts light right?
By now it’s dark outside, I’m not sure if my eyes will ever heal, and bright lights have rainbow auras. I don’t know how most people would have reacted to that combination of factors, but the obvious thing for me to do: I went for a walk.
It was like walking through the land of Oz.
There was still the persistent fog. But every street light was like a giant double-layer, rainbow-colored dandelion. The brighter the light the more distinct the bands of color. Depending on the type of light, different colors of the spectrum were more prevalent. The streetlamps closest to my house were bright white lights that radiated wide blue cores then dimmed out to thin red bands. Down the street the lights have a more orange tint, so the spheres were predominantly orange with barely visible blue cores.
I noticed that lights needed to be bright enough for me to see the aura. A car drove past me and stepped on it’s brakes. The red tail lights brightened enough to pass that threshold and I actually recoiled backwards from the sudden sphere of red that appeared.
At a distant intersection, three cars waited. All of their headlights were close enough and bright enough to combine into a single giant rainbow sphere. When the giant glowing red ball disappeared and the giant glowing green ball appeared below it, the cars drove towards me. As they got closer, they separated into three separate, dimmer, rainbow orbs; each with a slight variation in hue and intensity.
The half moon changed in intensity depending on how bright it was through the cloud cover. Most of the time it had a pale blue aura, but occasionally would shine bright, creating a huge double rainbow that dwarfed any other man-made lights.
It was a dreamlike experience, exploring my neighborhood. The fog over my eyes combined with dazzling colors that no one else could see. Walking through my own secret fireworks display.
I can’t help but think that there is some kind of lesson to be learned here.
- Something about always looking for wonder in the world around you.
- Always seeing things in a new light.
- Being willing to look at the world or your own neighborhood as if it were brand new.
- Or most importantly seeking joy in the face of adversity.
I know I have a reputation for being positive, but even I have to admit that maybe I’m annoyingly positive when my first instinct when faced with the possibility of having permanently damaged my eyesight is “I think I’ll go see what the world looks like now.”
Anyway, it is now five hours later and my eyes still haven’t returned to normal. In the morning I may be visiting a doctor. I know I don’t sound worried, but as far as I can tell, the worst case scenario is I have fuzzy vision for the rest of my life. It is a little inconvenient, but I can still see well enough to read and type. And every night sky will be filled with rainbows.