A few months ago, Londolozi received a visit from an eye doctor. I know I should be careful with a statement like this – because there is a significant difference between ophthalmologists and optometrists, but I didn’t bother to have my eyes tested and so I can’t verify which of the specialists we had. Anyway, several of the staff here are now happily bespectacled and some have even gone for corrective laser surgery and for now at least – we are all seeing a little better.
I didn’t bother with the examination because I have perfect 20:20 vision and always have. Being a little black sheep in the family, I’ve never had to stare through thick glass at the world and I’ve always been a little smug about it – Until now. Yesterday my frameless existence came crashing down with the words 90 degree astigmatism and before you could shout Medical Savings I was enthusiastically selecting frames.
The older folks are not too surprised – as apparently perfect eyesight diminishes as the years roll on by, but I’m desperate to work out how this could have happened so quickly. How do you wake up one morning and discover that the world is out of focus?
The truth of the matter is that I’ve been living in the sticks for quite a while. Here, eyes are strained daily to pick out the little detail that can make all the difference to a guest experience. The sun is harsh and in summer we collect not a few flying insects on our eye windshields, whilst in the winter, if it isn’t dust that’s doing the damage it’s the wind chill. Logically I should have been anticipating trouble. The other clincher is that whilst the environment is tough on the eye – staring at the backside of the largest animal on earth is hardly anything to test your eyes against. If I had spent the last 6 years squinting at a computer screen or blinking at road signs then if the headaches didn’t give the fading eyesight away possibly the 3rd party insurance premiums on the car would have.( In the bush you are expected to hit a tree every now and again.)
And I guess that’s the reason why until yesterdays’ little visit I have been blissfully unaware of my looming optical difficulties. Here, we sensually multi-task and do not just burden everything upon our poor eyes. The bushveld theatre opens doors to all your senses and over a number of years losing clarity in one department would be easily ignored.
My solution is a pair of pricey prescription sunglasses which I’ll collect next week and try my hardest to avoid sitting on.
In the meantime I’ll have to ask Jeremiah if it’s a Wood Sandpiper or just the Common that’s made the unbelievable journey over the past 3 weeks (from Europe) to arrive just out of focus on the far bank of the Sand River.
By: Tom Imrie