put down your hand-binoculars

tun·nel vi·sion

noun

  1. defective sight in which objects cannot be properly seen if not close to the center of the field of view.
    Synonyms: narrow focus, concentration, fixation, narrow-mindedness, single-mindedness, close-mindedness

    “without the tunnel vision that exasperated their friends and family, this team of inventors would never have made their mark in history”

    • informal
      the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view.

You’re laying down. It’s a beautiful spring day, and you’re laying down in a small, circular meadow. The perimeter of the meadow is lined with a old, simple wooden fence. Outside the fence there are trees, and songbirds and a mirror-like river. There are things you don’t know too. There are species you can’t identify, insects and and burrows and rolling mud piles. A separate world. You lay down on your back. The sky is a blue that reminds you of summer and chocolate chip pancakes and your dad and watching planes take off from the airstrip in Rye. The sun is bright. You cup your eyes like binoculars. Much better. You watch the world above through your hand-binoculars. You’re happy. The sun beats down on your bluejeans and your thighs feel warm. You feel comfortable. You think: this is what I know, this blue sky and green grass. You see one thing and one thing only. That blue. You keep your hand-binoculars pressed against your face. You fall into a daze, remembering the days you spent with your neighbors climbing trees. Or the days at the beach under a blue sky fading to black. You’re pulled from your daydream by the whistles of the songbirds outside that old, simple wooden fence. A hawk flies above you and for a split second you catch it swooping into then out of your line of vision. Tunnel vision. The songbirds continue to sing, the wind, you notice, makes the trees shiver and shake. The pines are speaking. The hawk circles again but this time you can’t see it, your hand-binoculars are keeping your eyes stuck on that blue. You want to see the hawk. Come back! you think, come back! But the sun is too bright. You can’t move your hands. You know that if you move your hands you’ll lose that perfect spot in the sky. That blue. You try to ignore the songbirds, the wind. That stupid hawk.

You’re cold. You’re standing in the shade, you’re surrounded by pines. It doesn’t make sense why you’re cold because it’t spring. The sun is out. The sky is blue. A beautiful blue. You’re walking though the trees. The wind makes the trees shiver and shake. The pines are speaking. You stop walking and turn, slowly, 360 degrees. You hear the songbirds. You see one too. The river is still. A hawk weaves its way through the hemlocks and perches on a branch to your right. It looks at you, cocks its head, then takes off again. The limb is left slightly bouncing, dancing and moving in the breeze. As you walk you notice the leaves under your feet and for a second you spot a couple of ants, no, beetles, making their way towards a secret underground kingdom. You notice everything. You can see it all. Though the pines you see a meadow, a small, circular opening with a old, simple wooden fence. It looks warm, comfortable. You want to lay down in that meadow. The goosebumps on your arms rise and the breeze picks up. You want to feel the sun on your thighs through your bluejeans and watch the blue in the sky fade to black. There’s too much here, the bugs and birds and pines and water, you think. I’m cold, you think. What do you want? You find the sky though the canopy of green. You want that blue, like tunnel vision.

It seems like I’m the only one who didn’t choose a school for sports. I’m surrounded by athletes, it seems, all day everyday. I mean, I’m an athlete myself. Not a college athlete, just an athlete. High school. Tunnel vision was the cool thing to have. I mean, at the time the term tunnel vision was by no means used for the recruiting process or the ultimate goal of being recruited to play on the collegiate level. Hindsight is always 20/20 and here I am sitting, writing, with perfect vision. But a year ago I was still blind and so was everyone else. Yes, I could have done it too. I could have tried to be recruited to play division III sports if I had committed myself to it. I didn’t and, while originally applying to college, I regretted this. Sometimes. I knew I didn’t actually want to play college sports. I had never be molded or shaped by coaches and my parents to be that girl who chose a college that wanted her. I was never built around tunnel vision. But from where I was standing at the time, I wanted to be that girl in the meadow, I wanted to feel the sun and watch the sky with nothing to worry about, nothing to look at but just that magical blue. But now that it’s over and graduation is in seven weeks and I’m nearing the end of this chapter of my life, I’m fearful for my friends and their addiction to that blue. That tunnel vision. I’m proud of my peers who have committed to a school, I really am, I’m just nervous they committed themselves prematurely. It’s important to stand in the shade, feel that breeze and see those bugs. I just hope that if the tunnel vision ever recedes, the view is still nice and the sun not too bright.

Tunnel Vision

-Noa Siegel

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