Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eyes to See

Yesterday I had my annual eye exam. Focusing on vision issues reminded me of just how precious this sense is. We may use it every day but sometimes we may not appreciate the gift of sight as we should. Although I also value the sense of hearing very highly, probably sight is the most critical to me.

I became aware of this a long time ago. In third grade, the school nurse noticed that I seemed to have a vision problem. My parents took me to one of the best ophthalmologists in Phoenix at the the time and I was diagnosed with extreme myopia or nearsightedness. I seem to recall that I was 20-200 in one eye and 20-400 in the other! That is nearly in the legally blind category but I've always been correctable to close to 20-20. BTW, those figures relate to feet--without corrective lenses, I could see at 20 feet what good vision could at the 2-400 feet distance!!

Within a short while I was wearing my first pair of glasses and spectacles have been with me ever since. I never even considered contacts because I cannot stand to have anything put in my eyes--using eye drops is an ordeal! I hate the drops used for dilation and the effect lasts for hours so after I got home--with the aid of a pair of very dark over-glasses wrap around shades!--I did very little until evening. But that ordeal was worth it to have my doctor say there were no appreciable changes since last year.

To put that into perspective, in 2011, the doctor in Colorado Springs hinted he saw the first traces of macular degeneration and I freaked. But that night my brother suffered a severe gout attack and a few days later a probable panic attack which was at first thought to be a heart attack. We were going through a very tough time with uncertainty on his job and perhaps planning or having  to move so the stress was huge for us both. Anyway, my potential vision issues went on the back burner but when I made my annual appointment last year here in Alamogordo, I was nervous. My new doctor was very sympathetic and assured me he saw nothing that would indicate vision failure was imminent or even threatened. Since I know my dad had glaucoma and early stage macular degeneration plus cataracts, I do watch my sight closely. I was diagnosed with beginning cataracts about eight years ago but they have not advanced much in that time. Another whew of relief.

So today as I walked out with Ginger in the bright morning, the ability to see hit me anew as the huge blessing it is. Those new green mesquite leaves, the blooms on various weeds, mostly those fed by the tiny runoff from roads and sidewalks since it is so dry, the distant mountains, the faint wispy clouds in the on the horizon and even the cars going by, birds flying around, and Ginger herself, trotting beside me were all pictures and images I absorbed and delighted in. I give huge thanks for eyes to see!

Here are a couple of shots of those new mesquite leaves I rave about.
The color is not quite true but close--my digital camera seems to emphasize yellow a bit more than green here but you may get the idea. I realize that where deciduous trees are common there are all kinds of new leaves to see. But in the desert, not so much. Maybe that makes mesquites a bit more of a treat. Here in town there are other leaves of course since most folks who came to these arid regions from elsewhere, insist on having trees and some grass, but to me, a near life-long desert dweller, mesquites spell spring to me and I greet those new leaves with delight.

 The two shots as you will note are very similar but I got a slightly different angle on them seeking to get the best color. They do have a golden cast and in a few more days-weeks, when the blooms arrive, they are very yellow! But the leaves are a pure bright spring green. BTW, the blooms look like fuzzy golden caterpillars, 2-3 inches long with a furring of fine strands--pistils? Stamens? Flower parts anyway!!

The cottonwoods down in the park between the railroad tracks and White Sands Boulevard are coming out, too. Those trees are now old and not doing too well--cottonwoods are huge users of water and the city has been watering them with sanitized sewer water. They do not thrive as there are too many
salts in it. Now the city fathers are talking of taking them out -- some seem to be slowly dying--and replacing with more desert-type species that will need less water. While I am all in favor of being environmentally responsible and conserving what is admittedly a very scarce commodity these days--water--I have to feel sad about that as do many in the community. No telling how it will play out but I'm glad I got some pictures when those trees were in their golden autumn glory last December! This shot was taken on Dec 12--to give you an idea of how long not-quite-summer lasts! A few days later it turned cold and windy and the leaves fell but still, December!! I gotta love it.

Incidentally this is close to where Ginger and I go to meet with Jacque, her trainer, and go through our weekly training sessions. Today will be the last of those for awhile since she will get her Basic Obedience Certification and we plan to wait a bit before we go on to further work. It has been fun and we have both learned a lot!

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