October 27, 2008
By Sauleha BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
Sauleha BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

The sky was a clear, misty, opalescent blue. It was the same shade it had always been. I glanced at it inattentively as I wound my way through the thicket of trees. The canaries sang odes to the blue sky, as they had always done.

Nature had never intrigued me, television had always entranced me. I had always seen the world through the lens of a camera. I had spent my evenings busily typing documents; my eyes had always been glued to LCD screens. I had reluctantly left the comfort of my leather futon for a walk; I had done this only so my friends would not pester me about my sedentary lifestyle. The scenery of “Rawal Lake” had never allured me…

"To me a lush carpet of pine needles is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug."*

I plodded through the carpet of rustling leaves, dragged my feet on the verdant grass. I walked across the winding, cobbled path; breaking twigs underneath my feet. I observed the passersby: they were the regular people you would see everywhere. They blended in the environs as if they were part of the landscape. I saw frolicking children, chattering in animated tones. I looked at old friends, greeting one another with glad cries after years apart. I heard the lyrical cadence of voices belonging to people who had their iPods plugged into their ears. I noticed the stark contrast between veiled women and those who were clad in skinny jeans. I saw stereotypical poodles scurrying down the twig-strewn paths and furry Persian cats meowing in their owner’s arms. The air was full of soft twinkling sounds that came from the several racing bikes that were wheeling along. I felt jaded seeing the habitué of the park, as I had always seen them.

"But I am denied that deeper understanding of them which I am sure would come through sight of them, through watching their reactions to various expressed thoughts and circumstances, through noting the immediate and fleeting reactions of their eyes and countenance."*

I walked on and on with my eyes obstinately fixed on the wild low-growing brambles, wondering why some people thought Nature was appealing and walks were calming. When I finally looked up I was in a small copse. I could see a sunlit lake glittering through the trunks of trees. I stared at the blue water, curious how it managed to attract hordes and hordes of people everyday. All of a sudden, a gray pebble plummeted into the lake disturbing its tranquility and wakening me from my reverie. I saw small circles from the place where it had fallen. Distracted, I looked up to find myself staring into a pair of startling blue eyes. My eyes wandered off to a small child standing a few feet from me. Her small hand was wrapped around an older woman’s callused one. She had a sort of vacant sweetness as she pored over the iridescent catkins and petunias that overlooked the cerulean waters. She touched them tenderly and breathed into their sweet-smelling perfume, fascinated.

"I felt the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me."*

She was not like the other children, she was unique; she was different. I looked at her; those coruscating blue orbs lacked something. She scanned the landscape voraciously. She had not lost that curiosity that withers as we grow older, as we become accustomed to the spectacle of beauty around us. She ran her fingers through the cold, blue water of the lake that was flecked with gold…

"I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers."*

And then I saw a white cane lying abandoned in the lush grass beside her. I looked at those impassive blue eyes and I knew she had never seen them. She stood there, on the leaf-strewn bank, her long hair fluttering in the light breeze. She appreciated what I had gazed vaguely at; I saw her face light up with a small gracious smile…

"Most of us, however, take life for granted."*

Her eyes were wistful, full of the desire to see. See anything. See the world we take for granted and withhold it with awe…

"At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight. Yet those who have eyes apparently see little."*

I saw the old lady give the child her cane. I saw the two of them move further away. Past the neatly manicured edges, until they were no more than tiny dots against the cerulean sky.

I walked a short way around the lake, sat down on its bank, sheltered from the gaze of passersby behind a tangle of shrubs and stared out over the gleaming water, thinking…

Every second I breathed, the smell of the grass, the cool air on my face, was so precious: to think that I had thought it was boring. To think that people let their days pass by in a haze of ignorance, impervious to all the wonderful details of the world.

"So we go about our petty tasks, hardly aware of our listless attitude toward life."*

Simply to watch the sun set behind the shadowy outline of the hills was the greatest treasure on earth. With a stab of guilt, I realized I had ignored so much, rejected so many fruits, A molten wave of dread drowned me when I thought I had termed the forget-me-not-blue sky “boring”.

Blue was not a mere color now. It did not represent sorrow anymore. It was an emotion, it was a gift. The tricking water was music to my ears; the flower buds represented hope and faith…I thought of how I had taken the silver birches for granted and overlooked the enchanting firmament…

"The panorama of color and action which fills the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps to appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not, but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than a means of adding fullness to life."*

I stared at the deep blue lake that was shot with gold in the failing sun. The mesmerizing blue reminded me of the eyes that had been robbed of a priceless gift. I sat there lost in a kaleidoscope of thoughts. I felt a surge of gratitude as I realized how gifted I am.

"I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound."*

The waves ebbed and blue faded away into shades of gray. The deep blue was lost on taupe-taupe merged into mauve. The girl had left but her eyes stayed; those impassive eyes, that sparkling sapphire blue…

*Hellen Keller’s essay, “Three days to see”

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