Thursday, June 23, 2016

If You Could See

While reading one of Dr. Bernie Siegal's books, I ran across an interesting question. Blind Helen Keller once asked her blind friends, "If you could see for just 24 hours, what would you choose?"

I pondered that question for days, then decided to try to write it on paper, and asked some friends and a couple of patients of mine who were interested, to try it with me. I learned an enormous amount about myself, as did those working on their own list.

I divided my paper into two columns. The first, at what I would choose to look. The second, the number of minutes I would spend looking at each thing. Remember, only 24 hours to look.

Oh, my list grew very large rapidly, trying to imagine the things I would want to see, all the wonders of our modern world: airplanes, TV, autos, artworks, architectural styles, trains, computers, ocean liners, variety of clothes, furniture, appliances, rocket launches, and the list was very long. I sorted and resorted, changed time allotments, but as time progressed over the next several months (yes, months) my priorities changed radically from those I had started on the list.

Now, it was not the wonders of the modern world at all, but the wonders of nature that headed the list and occupied the majority of my 24 hours! Trees, grass, sky, mountains, oceans, stars and planets, clouds, thunderstorms and rain, flowers and shrubs, and just plain dirt were highest in the ratings, but also were the animals, especially the small ones: rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, dogs, cats, fish, and others occupied a large chunk of time. Of course, the large animals were included, but less time allotment. Which is more interesting to watch, a lion or a cat? A giraffe or a chipmunk? A bear or a rabbit? 

And, of course, there had to be time allotments for friends, and family. I had so little time left to see the man-made wonders, there was little I could really see.

Everyone's list will differ, as ours did, also, but they were astonishingly similar. But this beautiful world of ours is more fascinating, more miraculous, and more interesting than all the rest added together.

As I sit on my log home porch in the mountains and look out over a valley, I view the small animals, feel the gentle breeze, smell the clean pine-scented air, watching a sunset, I am reminded of what Helen Keller might have meant in asking that question. Perhaps she knew the wonders of nature would far exceed those of man.

I encourage each one of you to pick up a pencil and paper and start your list. You will be amazed at the resulting list, and will learn more about yourself than you ever dreamed; and, amazingly, your list will be similar to mine.

Enjoy this world. The minutes continue to slip by, one by one. Never cease to stop, look, and smell the roses. It only takes a second. They are here, just for us.

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