My eyes are important to me. They are not spectacularly beautiful or unique. They are an ordinary, deep brown. I’ve been told I have pretty eyes but they only look somehow sad when I look into the mirror. They are important to me because they were the first part of my body that got the absolute joy of beholding the beauty of my children’s faces, in the first moments following their births, and, although my eyes have taken a thousand snap-shot memories for me since, none will ever be as important to me as those still-hauntingly beautiful images are.
Thinking of all that my eyes have been witness to, I came to an understanding of just how very important they are to me. My eyes have saw the beauty of an early morning’s sunrise over the Pacific and marveled at it also over the Atlantic; they have also watched that same sun slip slowly behind those Great Smoky Mountains as well as dip out of sight in my own backyard.
My eyes have seen the homeless wandering the cold streets, appearing frightened at times, without seeing the tragedy that befell them. My eyes have known the sight of newborn kittens whose own eyes can’t yet see. My eyes have seen death up close and personal and, although horrified, they were still there, accomplished professionals, always doing their job, snapping photographs I wished I hadn’t seen and ones I wish I could forget.
My eyes have almost drowned before, after falling into the liquid pools of gold that you call your eyes and my eyes were first on the scene when we met, drinking in your beauty and sharing with me that feeling of rapture at your nearness. My eyes were there, too, taking photographs on the night of our first kiss and they were the first to see your lips coming towards me and the first to see your last wave of goodbye.
My eyes have studied my daughter’s face as she has lain sleeping and have taken thousands upon thousands of such photographs as witness of her rise to adulthood. They have watched her cry over loves gone awry and they have watched her joys of receiving accolades and recognition for work well done. My eyes were there to witness her sorrow and, thus cried with her when her grandmother died and these same eyes saw her laughter and laughed with her over Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons. My eyes watched her leave on the first day of school and, just as intently, watched her give the Salutatorian speech on Graduation day.
My eyes have watched in wonder at my son’s squealing delight as the trapeze artists balanced on the high-wire above him at the circus. They also captured the obvious thrill on his face as he waved his checkered flag eagerly the day we went to the races. My eyes took notice too, of his tender, brotherly love for his baby sister. My eyes were there, as usual, snapping heartbreakingly poignant photographs on the afternoon he left this world. They saw much too clearly the last glimpse of his tiny coffin being lowered into the cold, damp ground and they were overcome with sadness for our loss on that last dark day.
My eyes have seen so many great things in their lifetime. They remember searching the night sky when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon and they remember also, all too well, watching the Challenger begin its ascent into space. They won’t forget the awe of looking out of an airplane window for the first time and they won’t forget how tiny the mighty Mississippi looked from way up there above it.
Though they grow dim at times and occasionally mist over with tears when told of a friend’s passing, I hope they will continue to take snap-shots for me for as long as I live.
Thank you, Eyes, for giving me so much joy. And, even though mixed in with so much pain, you’ve truly given me a well-rounded collection from which to choose my favorites when I sit down to flip through my mind’s memory album from bygone days…