I read somewhere that it can be difficult for prisoners leaving prison to focus on things in the distance. Eyes become accustomed to seeing only as far as the prison walls allow. I don’t know if this is true or not about our eyes (and probably not for all prisons – don’t some have chain-linked fences?) but it makes sense. We focus on our daily agendas because kids have to eat, houses need to not be eligible for Hoarders, and work isn’t going to work itself. It’s so easy to let things beyond the day-to-day become fuzzy and out of focus. We develop a kind of life near-sightedness and don’t see the amazing.
When I was in high school, my family road tripped throughout England, Wales, and Scotland. We logged day after scenic day in our Volkswagen Vanagon. My brother, sister, and I were all reading good books. As we logged in both miles and pages read, every so often my mom would turn toward the back of the van and yell, “Everyone put your book down and look OUTSIDE the windows!” And we would look. And outside the windows would be rolling hills with sheep grazing or an ancient ruin or Stonehenge or a picturesque village or a castle. And for just a moment it was disorienting because we were suddenly reminded to be in awe of where we were.
It was almost like we’d forgotten what an incredible adventure we were on.