Juliet is the only one of my three girls who does not need glasses. Yet when Damon asked her what she’d like to be when she grows up, she was the one who replied, “An eye doctor. I could turn the dials on all of those lens machines. And I would ask everyone, “Better, or worse, now?” That would be fun.”
An optometrist is a great goal for an eight year old girl. It’s a good goal for the rest of us, as well, in a symbolic sense. For too many of us are fuzzy at seeing what’s right before our eyes – a shifting climate; stretched resources; unsustainable priorities.
Soon it will be ‘Black Friday’, and commercials now regale us to rise before the sun, jump into our automobiles, and drive all over kingdom come to snatch up more stuff we do not need. I, myself, will stay home. Our house is already filled to the brim, not just with people, but with more items than I have a place for. Nor do I want to drive anywhere. I like to walk. When I’m out walking, I feel like I’m abandoning the black puff of gasoline smoke; I’m bypassing the current mindset of ‘Hurry, hurry, go faster, let me through…’. I’m living a more colorful life, in that I have time to see where I’m going, and what I’m passing by.
The other day I spotted a bumper sticker on a parked car that read, “eARTh”. How clever, simple, and true – earth is not ‘earth’ without art. As the dictionary states, art is, “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” I’ve tried to add on to this definition with one of my own, and what I’ve boiled it down to is this: art is an attempt to capture one’s own interpretation of being on this planet, either as we know it, or dream it to be, and then sharing that effort with others.
The key word in my home-grown definition is ‘attempt.’ We must all attempt to live on this planet together. Most of us attempt to share a piece of ourselves. What an optometrist does is attempt to make up for the eye’s natural deficiencies by tweaking the lenses through which we peer, back and forth, until a clearer path is illuminated. Yet eyesight is not stagnant, it does not stay perfectly tweaked. It needs occasional adjustments – ‘better, or worse, now?”
We currently have powerful representatives who are not interested in attempting much, certainly not bettering the earth. They have no intention of asking ‘better or worse” for the masses. They refuse to adjust the dials at all, even though we recognize our collective vision is blurry indeed. These ‘representatives’ are apparently content to be labeled as ‘obstructionists’. How they keep their jobs, when they refuse to work, is beyond me.
A hundred years ago, many people literally went blind when their eyes became sick or injured. Now we have a segment of people who refuse to see the fundamental changes that have rocked our country over the past fifty years – our expanding population, our dependence on oil, our undeniably changing climate, or our lack of resources to educate and care for a growing majority of our own people. This is earth without art indeed, a place where we are left staring at a blank canvas instead of any imagined visions toward a better way. What that leaves us all with is….eh?
Juliet played the Earth this week, in her third grade class production of ‘The Planets’. And it was a joy to see – Earth at it’s finest, with art on center stage.