Thursday, March 26, 2009

It isn't staring at an eclipse that hurts our eyes, the times when was was bright has turned dark, but the moments after when the sudden influx of light alters the chemistry of our cells and damages them. With age the damage becomes less and less each time, our lenses yellowing and becoming too callused for the sunlight to break through. But still each time our pupils have become too wide in searching for details in the dimness and are photochemically dented. We're not made to go from dark to light so suddenly.

I often wonder about all the creatures that have evolved themselves into no eyes, sitting in the dim places, slowly losing the potential for light. Straining to see something through the gloom until they stopped straining and learned to parse the darkness in other ways. Like all of those things with fins and tentacles living under water and using whole new organs to feel the electromagnetic pulses from muscles moving nearby. Seeing differently, but perhaps not worse. Not even remembering what having eyes was like.

And I think about how sometimes there's no rational explanation for heading into the caves or down under the water, how you just go there because it looks like someplace new, and how sometimes you go to open your eyes and find they have sealed themselves shut while you were busy with your other senses. I think it takes almost no time at all to evolve yourself out of eyes but more time than you have to evolve yourself back into them. I think that one day you close them to avoid the bright flash that comes when the eclipse is ending only to find that you are yourself the next eclipse. And you forget where your eyes ever were.

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