As I write, now, I was supposed to be travelling en route to Mt. St. Joseph’s Hospital where sometime this morning my left eye was to be operated upon. Cancelled yet again, this surgery was supposed to happen on two separate occasions during the past two weeks. “Rumpole”, “Renaissance Man”, “Glasgow Girl” and numerous friends are beginning to show signs of getting fed up with “Driving Stepford Wife”, me, about the neighbourhood to shop for groceries, run errands or go to the library. Surely these people must be really annoyed at the constant questions from me about things which are very clear for them to see, but for me exist in a strange underwatery blur. But they are a much giving lot, loving and supportive!
This morning’s “The New York Times” online, has a small article about artists and failing vision – “A new look at Impressionists’ failing vision.” Monet and Degas suffered from failing vision in later life; this has been documented and much discussed vis a vis the changes in their late paintings’ stylistic changes. A link to the American Journal of Opthalmology, where is a new study of the vision of these two painters, was impossible to access. Only people with a medical number have access to this article, which is too bad, as it would prove most interesting and instructive!
There are three reproductions of woman at her toilette, by Degas, accompanying the article today. Most interesting to me is the middle and last illustration, which purports to show how Degas may have seen the image which he painted in loose style with pastels. This is eeriely similar to how I see with my coke-bottle thick glasses. Only the colours are much more clear than those which I see, which are much greyed as if seen through an occluding filter. I have retinal problems, like Degas had, with the added complication of cataracts – so fuzzy form and changed colour characterizes the world I move through.
This is not altogether bad. The compensation is an organic blurring of hard corners and edges during daytime, and wonderful jewel-like auras around lights at night. An effect this has on physical movement through my world is to slow me down, to move as if labouring through water’s resistance. This is an eerie, beautiful experience, one to be savoured as long as it lasts. For, who knows what will be the changes to be accommodated to, in the aftermath of my (I hope soon) surgery?