Skip to main content

Michael Nesmith Talks About His Long Journey Into Darkness and Coming Back to the Light

Last October, Michael Nesmith played a show in Marfa, TX with brother and sister Sara and Sean Watkins (ex-Nickel Creek), a town that prides itself on its art. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the world, Nesmith could barely see those works because his sight had slowly been ebbing away.

Nesmith took to Facebook on Thursday to tell the story of the path to blindness and the way back to the light.
When we mapped the Marfa metaphor for the concert there with the Watkins Family, as those of you who were in on it will recall, we came up with ”Light”. The Light of Art that illumines and enriches society, civilization and humanity.

That is why it was so ironic that when I arrived in Marfa to play the concert I was practically blind.
I had been slowly losing my sight since 2007, and then in 2010 it took a dramatic turn for the worse and by the time of the Marfa concert in October of 2011 my world was a Monet painting with pretty colors but no distinct identities. Thanksgiving and Christmas were cold and lonely and came and went in a steady deterioration of the remaining sight, and by the time January 2012 was here I was legally blind. I needed assistance for most all activities, which was lovingly and unselfishly provided by my friends and companions Jessica, Robin, Katrina, and Jeffrey ---sometimes much to their own discomfort and cost. I could not drive or cook or get around on my own. It got worse, but I will spare you all that. Suffice to say things were bad, but my friends were good – even saintly.

In this darkness I reached out to a lovely friend and fellow musician, Janni Littlepage, and asked if she knew someone who might help. She suggested Alexander Holmes, a surfing ophthalmologist here on the peninsula.

When I went to see him he said “Well, the bad news is that it is cataracts. The good news is that it is cataracts. I can fix those” He scheduled me for surgery late January and in a simple, painless, operation he replaced the cataracts with brilliant clear new intraocular lenses –inside the eye – and I can see clearly now, just like the song says. So, where I was blind, now I see. In fact, I see better now than I ever have in my life.
To those who have inquired, that is where I have been my dear friends, wandering in darkness. But it is no longer dark. And though am returning only slowly to things, still digesting the lesson in all this, grateful for every step, I can see the light of intelligence has informed every hand, guided every move, and provided every direction. The light of Marfa shines; the Light of Life expressing itself in each unselfish, generous and beautiful act.

It is an extraordinary, inspiring, and lovely thing we do: that we heal each other.


Anonymous said…
I am a big fan of Nez, but I must say that his denial of declaration in giving God the credit and glory for his healing is most sad. I see this healing as God's way of saying Michael, I love you; come into the marvelous light of My Son Jesus Christ and see clearly all you've missed.
Anonymous said…
God didn't do anything, unless you worship eye surgeons.
Viola Lee said…
Papa Nez...that makes me so sad to know he's been going through all that but also really happy that he's now better and gone through something that has broadened his spirit even more...he is an inspirational man in all senses and my love and light goes out to him through the universe..
Anonymous said…
He is a christian scientist. Perhaps he didn't want to mention God here. To that I say don't judge and this is his story not ours
Liz said…
But where do you think the loving kind helpful caring hands of his friends came from then? Are we not all just extensions of God, doing for each other what is good and right? As God would have us do?
I'm very happy for him, that he has friends moved by such kindness, and because he can now see?
Anonymous said…
No, we are not all extensions of God. We are human beings who have evolved, like all creatures. Useful physical and behavioural traits have been passed down the generations. One of these useful traits is support of others, especially loved ones.

His eyes were fixed in spite of God, not because of God, by science - by progress hard-won through experiments and the enquiry of free-thinking minds.

If people are only compassionate about others because they feel they are doing God's will (and fear the consequences of doing otherwise), I would have to question their motives. Those of us who believe in morality without imaginary friends, and especially those who fix people using science are the real heroes.

Science flies us to the moon.
Religion flies us into buildings.