COLUMN: When seeing isn’t necessarily believing

There’s nothing like the smell of wet dog, large hairy soaks-up-water-like-a-sponge dog, to remind you that fall has arrived. And these past few days it truly has … particularly Sunday with incredible winds, driving rain and inevitable power failures.

There’s nothing like the smell of wet dog, large hairy soaks-up-water-like-a-sponge dog, to remind you that fall has arrived. And these past few days it truly has … particularly Sunday with incredible winds, driving rain and inevitable power failures.

Other than pongy pup, fall also conjures up fond memories of the smell of campfire smoke on cool autumn evenings, preferably enjoyed with a close friend in some remote corner of the province. Sunny days that begin with a crisp frost, the leaves spectacular as they transition in their death throes from vibrant green to every shade of yellow, orange and red.

In anticipation of this fall, before I decided to attempt a career change, I had ordered a new rifle scope, with necessary attachment. When it arrived recently I eagerly checked it out, and determined with much disappointment, and no small measure of annoyance, that either I was sent a faulty device or it was damaged in transit. For, look as I might through the lenses, there was no clarity to the image.

Phone calls and messages to the shipper were made, and the response was excellent … essentially: no problem, return it for replacement.

Receiving something in the mail is one thing for me, wrapping it all back up and returning it is another.

Finally, this weekend I thought I’d better get on with the job before the “best before return” date passed. So I decided to have a look through one of my other scopes just to determine, and describe in the return message, how bad the new one was before sending it off.

Lo and behold, it was “damaged,” too. Then the light bulb flashed on . . . is it the scope or is it me?

I looked through it, as I normally would, with my regular glasses. Blurry. Without glasses – same thing. Then I tried my “computer” glasses, the ones that allow me to see things between two and six feet from my eyes, as opposed to my distance vision appliance.

Voila! The image through the new scope was crisp, as it now was through the others as well.

A day or two before, I’d spent an evening with friends and among other things bragged that my vision hadn’t changed since I first required glasses following an accident 45 years ago. I have now discovered I was wrong, yet oddly everything still appears crisp – I can count the leaves on a tree at 300 metres – through my various glasses, or without them close up … except for those infernal scopes (and I’m now also assuming binoculars, camera lenses and what have you).

Among all this there must be a message … either I give up doing everything that requires more than simply “seeing,” or I receive a thorough eye examination and have some sort of bi-tri-multi-focal vision device concocted. After all, being out in the bush is one thing, carrying every kind of glasses with you, shuffling between them each time you try to do something means the  inevitable – I’m bound to lose at least one pair. If it’s the long distance version, then finding my way home might be a bit of a problem.

So, this fall instead of a trip to the back of beyond where in past years all I worried about was getting smoke in my eyes during those campfire evenings, I’ll be travelling to the optometrist.

Along with that will also be the acceptance that age, rather than accident, must be catching up to me.











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