It was Dr. Meade who showed the world to me. With his suspenders and his Santa belly, he helped me onto a squeaky leather chair and projected letters on the wall: all I could see was the E.
Days later, five years old and euphoric, I pushed thick frames up over my nose with my index finger as I took my first corrected walk with my mother, down the oak-lined street of my childhood.
The skyward green blobs became leaves, individual and back-lit, beckoning to me. The bricks of the road separated into shades of rose and dust; there were some that jutted, some that sunk. I saw the coiling of Spanish moss; the oily sheen of blue jays in my grandmother's birdbath; I saw the trailing clouds.
I didn't have the vocabulary then to express what I felt, but I knew my world was unfolding.
As I gained awareness of the detail of my environment, I wanted to comprehend, to revel in it. My newly crisp vision would instil in me a lifelong desire to study the world around me for clues.
It was when I learned that observation leads me to joy—and that not everyone noticed the way the dew clung to the petals of the Black-eyed Susans, that some people didn't notice the Black-eyed Susans at all—that I knew I needed art to help me communicate, and the seed of writing about this world was planted.
I've dedicated a good bit of time since then searching (haphazardly) for my next pair of metaphorical glasses, convinced that once found, they would illuminate my path again with perfect clarity.
But of course there's nothing so simple anymore as that childhood moment for understanding ourselves and our place in this world. And assuming that certainty will one day materialize for good is a story I've grown tired of telling myself.
Walking through the mist this morning, I thought of all the truths that hang in uncertainty, obscured. I thought of how enticing the unknown can be when reframed as mystery.
I thought of the grit required to sit with the slow reveal, and I wished that I could whisper to my five year old self this truth: