Birds & Woodchucks

“The rights of natural life are in the midst of the fallen world the reflected splendor of the glory of God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, born in 1906, executed by the Nazi’s in 1945.

I feared genetics when floaters appeared in my right eye several years ago. I didn’t want Mom’s macular degeneration, her struggle to read in old age when she at last had cash and leisure time to build her personal library.
Thankfully, my vitreous tear healed. My brain adapted to this aging process, and the floaters disappeared. In time, I advanced from +1 to +3 over-the-counter readers, and +1 strength for driving.
Then, last November a web of floaters obstructed the vision in my left eye.
“I’m going to send you to a retinal specialist,” my ophthalmologist said.
With pupils the size of hockey pucks, I aimed for Royal Oak Beaumont and cut off a driver on a right turn—a $125 ticket for a gray-haired lady wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day.
Yes, I deserved it, shouldn’t have been driving in my condition. I’m thankful no one was injured.
“Good news,” the doctor said. “It’s a retinal tear, not detachment. Surgery should repair it.”
An hour later, I left the medical complex with a throbbing headache and what looked like a serious case of conjunctivitis in my left eye. Two Security guys helped find my car in the parking structure. I slid behind the wheel for a good cry.
Two weeks ago, I drove south on Livernois in a hopeful frame of mind with my $545 prescription glasses. I trusted the doctor would offer more encouraging words. The floaters had vanished, yet my eyes couldn’t find the reading line in my new progressive lenses.
While I waited at a red light in a construction back up, I spied a sparrow to my left, pecking at a scrap of paper in a driveway. Repeatedly, the bird macerated the paper with its beak and attempted to lift it. After several failures, the bird at last secured its prize, flew over the road and into the bushes in front of the Montessori School of Rochester. Nest sweet nest!
I mused upon the sparrow’s perseverance as I turned south onto Coolidge. Oh, another blessed sight! From my left a waddling woodchuck crossed the divided boulevard with the speed of an Olympian. Burrow sweet burrow!
The retinal tear did heal. “See you in a year,” the specialist said. “And wear your prescription glasses. Be patient. Give your eyes and brain time to adjust.”
Thus, I persevere with wavering depth perception, missing steps, and tripping on invisible things. My reading width is four to five words, a strain on my eyes and brain—never slept so much from reading and vision fatigue.
Dear Reader, it is a comfort to wake to birdsong, to hear their faithful praise in this imperfect, fallen world. In the framework of natural life, I abide with birds and woodchucks.
Our home, sweet home, the splendor of God’s glory.