When I’m in full-blown teaching mode, I spend a fair bit of my semester lecturing about sensory biology. About the mechanisms behind how we can see, smell, touch. About the tiny senses that give us insight into the world around us. That alert us of danger. That point us towards things that might get us rewards. And every semester it’s always one of my favorite sections to teach, because it finally starts to feel relatable to my students. Teaching about neurons and neurotransmitters and cellular processes is so microscopic it almost seems unreal. But, understanding how we can run our fingertips along a surface and instantly identify it as warm. Well, that finally starts to feel likely useful information.
There are special sensors lining the back of our eye called photoreceptors. Our ability to see the world around us depends on these magical little cells. Tucked safely into our retina, these photoreceptors are sitting and waiting to be called into action. And each one is tuned to light of a specific wavelength. When you turn out the lights and slowly start to make out objects in the darkness, a subset of those special cells is hard at work. And when you look around you on a summer’s day, and take in every color as far as the eye can see, other photoreceptors are firing and sending signals to your brain, distinguishing blues from reds, yellows from greens. Thanks to the hard work of these cells, you can see every color of the rainbow…
There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.
A lot of people don’t know that our eyes also have a blind spot. There’s a part of the back of our retina that lack these magical photoreceptors and, as a consequence, there’s a part of your visual field that you are literally blind to. You’ve had it your entire life and you will continue to have it. The most amazing part of it is, your brain essentially fills in the missing space. Figures out the piece that’s missing and makes its best guess as what should be there, so you’d never know it exists. Compensates before you even had a chance to know there is any part of you that is lacking.
I think we can all have a blind spot when it comes to certain things. People who’s misdeeds we look past. Bad habits we can never quite accept as something we need to give up on. Our brain will fill it in, gloss it over, ensure we see the world as whole. I must admit when I first saw this rainbow stunner from Deerfield Vintage, my entire wardrobe moved into my blindspot. Suddenly I had nothing to wear, and my closet would be empty without this beauty to make it whole. And when I slipped this dress over my head this morning and took in her spectrum of colors, literally engulfing me in a rainbow, I felt as if I could finally see things clearly.
Perhaps we all need a blind spot now and again…
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