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Ode to Peripheral Vision

            Peripheral vision is a greater awareness. It is paying at least slight attention to the things that are not directly in front of you. It is a survival skill. The origin of peripheral vision is likely couched deep in the evolutionary history of getting caught unawares. A great solution to this was to have a sense that gives you some sort of forewarning to set off those alarm bells. However, it has not necessarily been a source of panic in my life. Instead, it is a chance to take in a little more of the world, to notice an animal I might not have seen. This is particularly important to me for enjoying hikes as I spend a lot of time staring at the trail due to the treacherous nature of rocks in trails and my very clumsy childhood. The hint of movement in the corner of my eye gives me the chance to look up and see a Yellow-Throated Civet, or a monkey, or deer, or coyotes. I certainly would not have seen them as much if I did not have a developed sense of peripheral vision. This sense was developed in civil air patrol where we were given the nearly impossible task of distinguishing someone’s rank as they walked down a hall without actually looking at them. It really came in handy when my best friend in high school decided a fun game would be to see if he could startle me. This rarely happened because I usually caught a glimpse of him coming before he actually struck. It has also lead to me being surprised in my room as a teacher only two times in all the years that I have had the mischievous eighth grader take on the task of surprising me as their primary mission in life. Aside from less adrenaline pumping moments, I can take a slight sense of safety from my peripheral vision as I travel, and it gives me more of a perceptive nature that I have slowly developed from being the most oblivious of space cadets to a person that often notices their surroundings and can plan accordingly.