I, like many other folks around the country, watched the solar eclipse this week with excited anticipation. My husband and I were with about 100 other people at Schoodic Point at Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor, Maine. We did not have the special NASA glasses and we were told that the park rangers would have some to use. Yes, they had 20 pair for us all to share! Did I peek up and gaze like President Trump did? No, and I hope you didn’t either. But, if you did, I have some recommendations to improve your eyesight from an artist’s point of view.
First don’t look directly at the sun
The rangers had given out all the special black glasses when we arrived at Acadia National Park’s easternmost rocky shore to view the sensationalized solar eclipse. The Park’s educational coordinator, Kate Petrie, explained that the eclipse would only be 45% this far north in Maine, but cautioned not to look directly at the sun without protection. One man made a wooden reflection gizmo utilizing angled mirrors that projected the moon’s shadow on a piece of paper. Another woman held binoculars with the fat end towards the sun and the eyepiece end pointed down towards white cardboard on the ground. The eclipse was clearly visible there. Two ingenious ways to watch the entire event without looking directly at the sun and moon. Thankfully, we watched the entire progression from crescent to crescent, with several generous solar peepers allowing us to borrow their glasses from time to time.
What to eat to protect your eyes
As a painter, let’s face it, I NEED my vision! Therefore, I regularly have a healthy diet for my entire body focusing on my eyes. Luckily, summer time in Maine produces several wild fruits that are perfect for your eyes. I am fortunate to have wild blackberries bushes that have nearly over-taken half of our back yard. Some vines are ten feet tall with one inch thorns! Brutal to navigate around when picking berries. Wild blackberries and blueberries, native to our Pine Tree State are rich with vitamin C and beta carotene that are called “eye friendly” nutrients. They also are rich in anthocyanins that increase eye membrane strength and assist with anti-inflammatory activity reducing retina inflammation. This means you will be better protected against macular degeneration and cataracts. I recommend eating lots of berries for your eyes!
Raid local gardens for more healthy produce
More food for thought, it’s garden time and time to eat for two…eyes that is. Green leafy vegetables, kale, spinach and parsley have powerful nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin. These anti-oxidants are abundant in your macular, the part of the retina that is responsible for detailed and centered vision. Therefore, I make a family favorite recipe tabouli from parsley and tomatoes. Tomatoes, rich with lycopene also help the macular and are plentiful now! Our garden is overflowing with tomatoes and Sitto’s Lebanese tabouli is jam packed with tomatoes and parsley! I add the juice of four lemons to make it zestier along with allspice and fresh mint!
Sooth your eyes with art
Of course resting your eyes on beautiful art is therapeutic and healthy. A small gallery near Acadia’s Schoodic Point is the perfect spot for immediate relief from the sun. That gallery is the Littlefield Gallery located in Winter Harbor. We just happened to pop in during the opening of collage artist Dan Anselmi’s “Paper, Scissors, Paint” and sculptor Mark Herrington’s new exhibit. Herrington is an Orono High School graduate who now resides in Franklin in an old quarry and Anselmi is from Belfast. They both are abstract contemporary artists whose works complement each other with their shapes and colors. The gallery has one large area with skylights and plenty of natural light. Jane Littlefield, (a retired English teacher from Bangor), and her husband Kelly gave me a tour. The Littlefields have turned their entire home into a gallery! They also represent several local artists in their interior rooms. A diamond in the rough and easy on the eye! A must for viewing. www.littlefieldgallery.com
Close your eyes
Finally, after all the excitement, one needs to simply rest those baby blues. Save your vision and sleep! As Tom Brady said before last year’s Super Bowl, “Get some rest and stay hydrated!..” I slept and dreamt of the Raven’s Nest, a “secret-spot” in Schoodic peninsula featuring tall jagged cliffs and caves gouged out by the sea. A favorite painter’s perch, that I painted before the solar eclipse. Sweet dreams of sunny days and moonlit nights, solar eclipses, yummy fruits and veggies and vivid art! Save the peepers! Thanks for reading and visit Teddi-JannCovell.com TheBangorArtSociety.com