The words were an excited explosion coming from the mouth of two-year-old Landon Johnson, who was on an evening walk.
The donkey down the street was braying loudly, as he often does. It’s a sound I’m used to. I know it’s there. I just don’t pay attention to it. Apparently, there are many things I don’t really pay attention to any more.
Our walk was very exciting, and very slow, because, Landon sees everything with joy, anticipation and excitement. I had gone out to boost my heart rate by walking fast. As soon as we left the house I could see that exercise, with a heightened heart rate, wasn’t going to be a result of our walk. Yet, my heart rate was accelerated just by having Landon point out all the things I have become blind to.
As we progressed up the road I began to ask myself, “How can I rediscover joy from everything around me?” Is there something to be done to remove this kind of cataract?
Just two or three days earlier, walking up this very road, I talked with a friend about how her sight had been failing. Two weeks earlier her doctor had removed a cataract from one of her eyes. This coming week she is going in to have a cataract removed from her other eye. As a result, her sight will be greatly improved as the clouded, natural lens of her eye is removed and replaced with an interocular, artificial lens by her surgeon.
Such cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. They are most commonly due to aging. And, while I don’t currently have physical cataracts on my eyes, Landon has shown me that I have developed, through age or other factors, a different type of cloudy lens leading to decreased vision.
My guess is that I’m not alone. There are likely millions of us who suffer from this same form of vision loss. Luckily, surgery will not be needed, but our quality of life can be improved by following simple sensory loss prevention protocols.
Wear sunglasses when going out each day for sensory improvement sessions. Walk, play outdoor games or ride a bicycle. Increase your heart rate, through exercise, and by focusing on exercising your senses. Take note of the natural world’s beauty all around you. Listen to the sounds, see the people and animals, feel wonder at the beauty of it all.
If all this fails, take a two-year-old, like Landon, with you to act as your guide. Listen as he says, “What’s that?” And then, let the excited explosion coming from him heal your blindness.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.