Posted in Africa, Nature, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There be Light

Could not resist re-blogging this for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:

From 93 million miles away, pitched straight at me, vibrating, ululating like an African cry of greeting, light from the sun hurtles towards the earth at 186,282 miles per second and eight minutes later slams into me like a jabbering, long-lost relative trying to make up for lost time.  It babbles everything, all at once, into my eyes.

SunsetOur eyesight is an electro-chemical reaction to a vibrating particle-wave that gushes optical information splash into my brain.  I could shut my eyes to the wonder around me and be diminished.  I could shut my eyes to the atrocities around me and become hardened.

By opening my eyes, I give shape to my perceptions.  By opening my eyes I take responsibility for my vision, for what my eyes teach me.  By opening my eyes I learn that I belong to the world, not that the world belongs to me.

Our eyes are openings into and out of our bodies.  Are my eyes, as some would say, a window to my soul?

There is a cold way of seeing that clips wings and stifles our words into faint echoes.  But there is also a way of seeing where the eye can be like a mouth, swallowing color, taking in the entire world with just one gulp.  Just the sheer fact alone that we see color should provide enough wonder to fill our lives, should stop us in our tracks, should keep our eyes wide open, devouring everything as fast as we can choke it down, leave us slack-jawed, gasping for air.

Somewhere behind my eyes, a world exists that I yearn to inhabit, dreams that might become real if only I could imagine them with my eyes wide open.


Cheryl Merrill’s essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Pilgrimage, Brevity, Seems, South Loop Review, Ghoti, Alaska Quarterly Review, Adventum and Isotope. “Singing Like Yma Sumac” was selected for the Best of Brevity 2005 and Creative Nonfiction #27. It was also included in the anthology Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition, 10th Edition. Another essay, “Trunk,” was chosen for Special Mention in Pushcart 2008. She is currently working on a book about elephants: Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants.

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