I have just had two cataract ops (or ‘procedures’, to use the proper medical term), and I’m dazzled. Literally, if I rashly go out in full sunlight, but metaphorically most of the time. I realise that for years I’ve been lit by a mere 40 watt bulb. Now it’s a hundred. The procedures were four months apart, and I could scarcely believe that such a radical improvement could be so quickly and painlessly achieved. The first made me realise how there had been a yellow cast in that eye. It disappeared like a coat of old varnish from a painting. By shutting one eye I could admire the contrast. Now, with two eyes refreshed, I see the world unvarnished, and realise what I’d been missing.
The whiteness of white was the first surprise, and is still the biggest difference between the old vision and the new. All colours are brighter – or more distinct. A single clematis flower emerging from a tangle on the wall shocked me with its piquant, singing purple – a colour I don’t remember ever seeing in the garden before. A white-variegated dogwood is now as uplifting a sight as a ballooning spinnaker. The light green ovals of new leaves on the resurging magnolia in the street are eye-catchers, every one of them.
Perhaps it’s just as well that August has been oppressed with one of our unbudging zones of high pressure, a grey lid that brings a cold north wind sneaking under its edges for weeks on end. It clears at night, I don’t know why, but as the moon rides up the sky the lid of cloud often dissipates, and the garden seems brighter than in the grey-lidded day.