Maryalicia Post reflects on the lasting impact of a hoof to the head
Someone asked me the other day if I have 20/20 vision. And actually, I don’t know. What I can say is that I can see quite well as soon as I get my eyes ‘tuned’. That requires me to tilt my head slightly to the left and down, which – I like to think – gives me the appealing look of an alert robin while at the same time bringing the two eyes into agreement as to where things are.
I must say I don’t much notice this procedure. I’ve been ‘tuning’ them for decades – ever since I had the misfortune to fall under a galloping horse and get hit in the head by a hoof. The little crescent on my velvet riding cap marked the point of contact. The broken stirrup strap explained the fall. When I woke up in hospital about six hours later my right eye was stuck up in the corner of my eye socket and remained there for six months.
I wore an eye patch during that half a year. As I was still smoking small cigars then I made a lasting impression on those who met me for the first time. Another thing that has been remembered – by those for whom I poured a cup of tea or coffee in those days – was how they had to position their cup under the spout of the pot so that what I poured landed in the cup some of the time.
During those six months, I met a lot of friendly fellas at the eye hospital In Dublin; mostly hurlers who had been clobbered with a hurley stick. Not many years afterwards, the first steps were taken to reduce the number of eye injuries hurlers used to accept as par for the course. We enjoyed our sessions in front of a device trying to bring two sets of drawings into one, exchanging comradely high fives when we came close.
As for me, I’ve given up horses (and cigars). I’m planning to channel my inner robin and focus, on the garden.
It’s a jungle out there. I’ll keep my eyes tuned.