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Kim Fortune,For the Tribune
I have always been amazed and a tad bit envious of how animals have such keen night vision as do some birds and even sea creatures.
Humans have the wonderful ability to identify colors, but we are not as well equipped for seeing in the dark. Owls, frogs, octopuses, cats, raccoons, bears, snakes, cows, sheep, wolves, cockroaches, and horses, just to name a few, all have very admirable night vision. Even on the darkest night, it seems these gifted night visionaries can find their way to their desired destination without missing a heartbeat.
During a recent snow event, I had outpatient surgery in Saginaw. Driving in the daylight with snow flurries is just the normal routine for living in snow country. However, by the time the surgery was completed, and I was given the approval to travel, the snow had increased in intensity along with the gusting wind.
Leaving Saginaw with all the street lights beaming brightly lulled my foggy mind into thinking all would be well. As the lights of Saginaw faded, only our headlights brought illumination to a small area of roadway. The roads weren’t plowed and only a few tire tracks were visible to follow. Still recovering from the anesthetic, my mind started coming fully awake. I realized we couldn’t see our surroundings well.
We slowly made our way. I wished I had the night vision of some of Mother Nature’s wonders. As we drove along the shoreline, no lights were shining from summer cottages. I stared out into the darkness of Lake Huron. My mind drifted back to a time when my life depended on an animal to have perfect night vision when I was in utter darkness.
Loving horses, westerns, and the cowboy or cowgirl way of life, when the opportunity to go on a trail ride in the mountains with a group of friends presented itself, I couldn’t wait to saddle up and ride. Being in my mid-20s, adventuresome, and idealistic, I looked only at the thrilling aspect of riding on a mountain trail, stopping for a real chuck wagon dinner, and singing songs around a campfire. The mountains in New Mexico are very inviting, and I just couldn’t wait for this great adventure of enjoying, at least for a short time, a disappearing way of life.
Finally the day arrived, and we met at the stables to pack our gear, meet our trail bosses, and to select the horse we wanted to ride. I looked over all the possibilities, speaking to each one, looking in their eyes, and giving a little snuggle to each. When I came upon Trusty, he snuggled back, looked straight in my eyes, and nodded his head up and down. I got the hint. Trusty was my steed.
We left at 3 in the afternoon with a bright blue sky, small puffy clouds, and a beaming sun. As our little band of 20 people and staff ascended upward on the mountain, I was soaking up all the wonderful pine aroma, the rays of sunshine scattered through the trees, and the joy of riding Trusty. We chatted to each other as we rode single file up the trail. As I was admiring the gorgeous view, my eyes and mind made a connection that hadn’t been made before — the trail was narrow and the mountain was steep. There were no guardrails. No wonder I had to sign waiver forms. As disquieting as that thought was, I brushed it aside and refused to let it fester in my mind.
We rode for three hours till we reached our destination at a lovely grassy area. The chuck wagon was a bustle of activity as the cooks prepared our meal. We tied our horses up on a string line. I tied Trusty up at the end of the line. We had a few more snuggles and fond gazes between us before I joined the rest of the group around the campfire. This moment seemed like heaven on earth to me. We ate, listened to stories, sang songs, toasted marshmallows, mades’mores, and relished this incredible adventure. None of us really noticed the darkness creeping in. As the dark covered the sky, so did a large cloud cover, which prevented us from seeing the stars and moon. The only light to be seen was our campfire, and we were about to put that out before saddling up to descend the mountain.
It had escaped my mind that we would be riding down the mountain at night when I signed onto this adventure. With the fire extinguished, the darkness was overwhelming. Thankfully, Trusty was easy to locate since I tied him up at the end of the line. Creating a single file line, we started down the mountain. I told Trusty he had to live up to his name because I was trusting in him and his night vision. I was in total darkness, not being able to see the edge of the trail. I knew there were critters about when I heard bushes rattle and tree limbs snap. They could see me, but I couldn’t see them. None of us spoke. We rode in silence. Finally, three hours later Trusty had delivered me to the stables where light shone in the ranch house. Those kerosene lights looked like crystal chandeliers to me. Trusty had used his night vision to keep us alive.
Many people and nations, including ours, are under a creeping darkness. Our vision seems to be obscured by this darkness. Many have gone through dark times, but there has always been people of great vision who have lead the way out of darkness such as Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps you are one of those with great vision who can lead the way out of darkness into the light, just like Trusty did for me. The path may seem dark, steep, and winding, but the light can be found. Step up and start leading before the darkness closes in forever.
Kim Fortune is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Huron Daily Tribune. She can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Do we have good night vision? ›
Our ability to see the world around us in clear, precise images is frankly incredible. But since we are a diurnal (awake during the daytime) species, our night vision is nowhere near as powerful as that of many animals.What does good night vision mean? ›
: ability to see in the dark. an animal with excellent night vision.How do you evaluate night vision? ›
How is Night Vision Tested? To assess night vision, your ophthalmologist may ask you questions, look at your eyes and test your vision. One common test is the Pelli-Robson Contrast Sensitivity Chart. It is like the Snellen eye test letter chart, but with letters in different shades of grey.What gives you good night vision? ›
Eating Vitamin A rich foods is important for your vision. Vitamin A contains rhodopsin, a light-absorbing protein in the retina. Vitamin A-rich foods may include dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce. Vitamin A can also be found in dairy products, liver, broccoli, and squash.Who has the best vision at night? ›
Best Night Vision
The gold for night vision goes to owls. These nocturnal predators have large eyes with five times the rod density of human eyes and a tapetum lucidum on top of that. Finally, their swiveling heads give them 270° visibility.
Levels of Night Vision IIT. AGM Global Vision offers Gen 2+ image intensifier tubes (IIT) in five levels: NL1, NL2, NL3, NW1 and NW2. All Gen 2+ night vision tubes are equipped with microchannel plate and multi-alkaline photocathode. The main difference between the levels is resolution and cosmetics.What is night vision weakness? ›
- Myopia (nearsightedness).
- Glaucoma medications that work by constricting the pupil.
- Retinitis pigmentosa.
- Vitamin A deficiency, especially in individuals who have undergone intestinal bypass surgery.
In general, there are two types of night vision goggles and gadgets: image intensification and thermal imaging. Each one lets you see in the dark, but in a completely different way.What is night vision called? ›
What is night vision? Night vision, also called scotopic vision, is your natural ability to see in the dark. It kicks in when different components, in particular your pupils and retinas, work together inside your eyes. It can come in pretty handy when you need it.How well do humans see in the dark? ›
When it comes to seeing in the dark, traditional belief is that humans are not able to. However, new research has challenged this, suggesting that at least 50% of all people are able to see the movement of their own hand, even in an environment that is pitch black.
Can humans see in complete darkness? ›
First of all, it is impossible to see anything at all in total darkness. Total darkness means the absence of light, and our eyes depend on light to see. With that said, it is quite rare to be in a situation with total darkness, even at night.What eye color sees best in the dark? ›
While blue eyes are more sensitive to light during the day, people with blue eyes tend to see better at night – unless there are bright lights.What does human night vision look like? ›
How is your vision different at night? At night, there is no color vision. You just see shades of gray and white.Can a blind man see in the dark? ›
While only around 18 percent of patients with significant visual impairment are totally blind, most of them are defined as low vision whom still can perceive light. Consequently, although they cannot tell the difference between shapes or colors, they can still distinguish between light and dark.Did humans once have night vision? ›
New York, April 21 (IANS) New genetic evidence confirms a long-held hypothesis that our earliest mammalian ancestors indeed had powerful night-time vision.