Friday, June 16, 2006

Hungry eyes

A RECENT US study found that some orientals take in all the details in a picture, a detail at a time with sights rampaging throughout the picture. Their eyes do a thorough sweep. Their opposite numbers in western countries merely latch their sights on a picture’s focal point, skipping on tidbits, nuggets and wee morsels that hungry eyes slurp up and chew as cud.

Paying persnickety attention to details can pay ample rewards. Sights are made for seeing. Go peer. Gaze and eyeful. Look out for signs and wondrous sights that are often wee—not too grandiose nor too spectacular.

Only a Moses got that rare chance to set sights on a burning bush that went on burning and wasn’t consumed by fire. Keep the lights burning, please: peer at the splayed open thighs of one’s beloved and behold her bush emitting light and delight.

Only an Arjuna was given a chance to behold the entire universe that was mere kernel of an incarnate divinity. We’ve been told to grasp earth’s entirety in a grain of sand, see and take to licking heaven in a maiden’s flower.

A well-honed sight imparts a keen edge to slice through or flay whatever’s offered before it. A steady diet of sights can be chewed down, their nutrients and essences absorbed to gain lean insights. Behold, verily, then, hold.

Author Anais Nin avers “we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” So I’ll never have any part in that putative holier than thou anti-pornography group that latch their sights on obscenity and lewdness.

My, oh, my I ought to be those ornate wrought ironwork hand-me-downs from another era—enduring details of the Bautista-Nakpil ancestral home in Quiapo, flaked remnants on the flank of the Monte de Piedad building in Sta. Cruz that I fondly set eyes on on my way to work. That means, and with fingers crossed in wish-craft, I dare say I could endure and be pliant enough to take on geometry and beauty like ‘em.

I remember Friedrich Nietszche stating “look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you.” By extension, quantum physics has it that looker and looked at become one. They swap information in that intimate process. Quantum physics has a quaint word for it. Interface. Information and intimacy accrues both to the parties involved in that meeting of sights.

It’s no longer a transaction or workaday deal pursued for its own sake. Interface leads to transformation.

That implies I am in union with a blur of bright plumage in movement —starlings and sparrows in quick flight are a staple sight my eyes snatch as visual snack. Relish those swish/swirl of feathers light as a heart without a care. And those quick-as-a-wink ambush of reptiles, ah, some magnificence of lizards and skinks and serpents as they catch their prey. Include the dart of wasps and bees unleashed like arrows upon foliage and flowering.

What about author Paolo Coelho’s uptake on the mythical character Narcissus? The pond on which Narcissus saw his mirror image missed the man—it was through his limpid eyes that the pond saw its own beauty. The beholder and the beheld are equally blessed.

Those stand of trees and sweep of grass on a hillside in Ciudad Real in Bulacan, why, they’re a sight for tired eyes, a soothing wash of green, tangled branches and blades and all. I haven’t bothered to ask ‘em though if they also deem me as a wonderful sight.

All I ever get to chat with are the plants that I grow in my garden. That wonderful horticulture wizard Luther Burbank once said a plant has 20 sense organs in it. I haven’t figured out any of such but, hey, a plant can communicate and respond to doting thoughts. Umm, let’s just say a head of cabbage packs more sense than most empty-headed louts inflicting inane chatter on us via TV broadcast networks.

No, I still don’t wear eyeglasses—my sight hasn’t dimmed yet. It has probably adjusted, refitted, maybe retooled itself through the years from the normal 20/20 vision to the more recent 36-24-36.

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