When I sit in my soft chair in the morning with my cup of darkroast, I look out two windows that are about eight feet apart. The one on the right presents a view of thick trees and a few patches of northeastern sky beyond. The left window gives onto the hillside that is immediately behind the house and to the north. 

These views are fundamentally different, yet are vitally connected. I am reminded of what it must be like for some animals with eyes on the sides of their heads. You have to wonder what their brains do with all that information. I think the idea is that they have a heightened awareness of their environment beyond 180? to as much as 350+ degrees. A kind of defense mechanism – and early warning system, you think?  You’d have to ask representatives of the prey family of critters – those who are more likely to be eaten – rabbits, song birds, squirrels and deer, for instance, all with eyes on the sides of their heads.

Unfortunately, I am able only to see what’s presented in one window at a time. In practice, I don’t spend much time thinking about the issue. I just look out one window and think, “That’s nice”, then I check out the other window and think, “Wow! That’s nice too”.

My mind hurts when I try to visualize what a 350? field of view would be like sitting here in this nice easy chair. I like being able to move my eyes and turn my head to pick up the edges of my field of vision. When I try to “see” both windows at the same time I end up seeing mostly the wall and mirror that is between the windows, and switching back and forth between the two. But that’s how we are made, isn’t it?

The best thing I have going is peripheral vision where one or the other eye becomes aware of something off to the side that the opposite eye can not see; then I can look more directly at it with both eyes. A side benefit, however, is depth perception. With eyes on the front – binocular vision – I can tell pretty much how far away an object is. Squirrels, and others of the prey family with monocular vision, jump at any movement since they do not know how near or far the danger really is,

Thinking about these things makes me wonder whether there is a profound life lesson lurking in all this. Something that would measure up to such eternal verities as, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, or, “a watched pot never boils”. The best I can come up with is, “Seeing is believing”. Then I am aware that often that what is seen is not much on which to base a belief. As in, “Now you see it – now you don’t”. Ask five people to describe what they have seen at the same instant and place and you get five different stories. I wonder what five rabbits or squirrels would describe in such a situation.

All I know is that I am happy not to have eyes on the sides of my head. How do you read with a set up like that? I guess one plus would be that I could see out of both of my windows at the same time.

Thought for the day: look both ways, maybe four if you count up and down. You never know what’s coming.

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