As a child (7 or 8), I sat on the front steps one day
and thought, "I will look right at the sun." It was
easier to do than I'd expected: just hold your eyes
there, forced wide open and don't move. I did it,
and after the first few second of feeling blinded and
wanting to blink, I could simply look at it. It surprised me,
because it wasn't yellow or orange, nor were there
spoke-like rays. It was a perfect circle, blue-tinged white
and appeared to be spinning fast. As I gazed, it shifted
back and forth between being a solid thing (a glass
or platinum disk) and a hole in the sky. I could look at it
(as long as I kept looking at it) easily, but it worried me
that it was too easy. When (after a long minute)
I looked away, it was still there, wherever I looked,
blazing, spinning -- it or its dark red complement.
Closing my eyes did not dim it, not for a long time.
(But I think it is gone now. I just closed my eyes to check.)
Later I read of wisemen who meditated while staring at the sun.
I read also that doing so permanently destroys bits
of retina (cones and rods? Who IS Rod Cohn?), and
you go blind -- or cut a black hole into your visual field,
but I'm 62 and using the same eyes -- so far, so good.
I can still read about how I've been made blind.
Perhaps I AM blind. How would I know, since I can't
see what I don't see. Whole universes may be swallowed up
in retinal lacunae. Did you know that right now you have
a blind spot where the optical nerve attaches to the eye?
If you close one eye and move a fingertip about in front of the
while keeping your eye fixed on a spot on the wall,
at some point that finger-tip (though within the eye's visual field)
I read that once and tried it out, and it worked. I just tried
now, and the damned thing wouldn't vanish. Stupid
But it's true! It's true! We cover it up by having two eyes.
Or by seeing for ourselves, independent of eyes.
And what if the detail that slips into a blind spot,
like the clue in a murder mystery, that, once seen,
changes all that has gone before utterly, is,
for example, this universe's exit sign?
I MUST be blind. There are suspiciously few images
on these pages. And you, you're right here
reading this, but I can't see you.
Note: Without rods and cones, we plunge into the heart of darkness,
so Rod Cohn may be related to Joseph Conerod. "Stupid body
tricks" alludes to the "Stupid Pet Tricks" featured
on the Dave Letterman show.