In church when I was growing up, an elderly woman with bad eyesight used to hold the blue hymnal as if she were smelling its pages while she sang. She had to get that close or she couldn’t read the words. She was much more fervent than the rest of us who stood mumbling or mute. What a chore, I thought. My eyesight is now that bad. When I read, my eyes can not see to the end of sentences, so their owner has to move the book. On an iPad, I fog up the screen with my breath. So I wear contacts and glasses. This is the obvious solution and it is a very minor nuisance, but it is ultimately unsatisfactory. It means the day is mediated, synthetic. When I read with just my pokey eyes, and nothing else, the letters are clearer on the page. I am having the experience I intended to have. This applies with a riot when looking up close at the rest of the world — the dog’s snout and its marching band of whiskers, my strict watch face, the flakes of pepper. Of course you can’t live like this around people you don’t know well, because you have to get so close to things that anyone who doesn’t really know you is likely to see you hunched over and file a report. Still, the patient slowness and intention of the knife chopping through something at the end of your nose on the cutting board is deeply satisfying and rewarding to the eye. Unless it is an onion.