Last night, the full moon appeared like a flamboyant floodlight. It seemed to echo, "Is anyone alive down there...down there...down there? It is I, floodlight moon." It appeared close but was actually 238,857 miles away! Our eyes can play tricks on us.
Even so, they are rich visual collectors. Two blue, brown, hazel or green mini artists, taking in life portraits, freeze framing them into memory the way paint adheres to canvas. A scoop of bangs across a pale forehead, inky black like a raven's wing, dead leaves twirling on bare, sun drenched branches or snow swelled on the ground like thick, whirled whipped cream.
I remember seeing my newborn daughter's eyes for the first time. Like soul windows, new yet ancient and full of penetrating light. Whey they lay each in my arms, of course in different years, those haunting eyes explored mine, speaking without sound. Why hello, dear mama, they seemed to say. I've felt your heartbeat and heard your cries and laughter a thousand times. Here you are now. I see you. They knew me and I them. Any mother can tell you how poignant this is. That lavish communication without words. I promise not to mention babies anymore but I do love them.
Eyes alone speak of pain, sadness, joy, confusion, wildness and sometimes evil, all without sound.
If we have been blessed with vision intact, our brain does the work of preserving previous sights into memory. I can still see the metallic shimmer of dollar sunfish, greasing through an Arkansas River, sun catching the star burst of yellow bellies. And creamy vanilla jack-in-the-pulpits, glazing up an Illinois spring forest we wandered through as children. And red-winged black bird eggs, pale blue-green and freckled, cuddled tight in marshy nests.
It's exciting to use this visionary sense in our writing. Here's an example from my WIP novel, The Passion Diary.
Driving through Millview, men with wilted faces sat outside Hunters Gas Mart. On splintered, wooden benches some whispered and whittled while others stood, eclipsed by smoke clouds wafting from lit points of cigarettes. The locals referred to this spot as Limber Dick Corner. God help me, I didn't want to grow old.
Turning down Main Street, earth rose behind ancient buildings, disguised in fresh paint. Brambly blackberry vines clamored up a long row of fence, berries dangling and not yet flushed purple. Trees, heavy with green foliage, clung to hillsides and I wondered what was blending and dashing through not visible to the naked eye.
This is pure visual description and why I wanted to use it as an example. I could add the sense of smell-the soil, cigarette smoke, etc... I could also throw in taste-the eventual ripened berries, but I probably won't for these paragraphs. Hopefully, if I've done my job well, sight alone tells us this is a small town with old secrets.
So, fellow writers, please savor every visual treat this week. And remember, seeing is believing...sometimes.