It seems as though I have been doing a lot of shoveling these past few days, and low and behold, it’s supposed to snow again tomorrow. It’s almost as though I can feel the anticipation building in my bones.
I finally got the shoveling all done from the past two storms. The first storm packed a heavy snow, and this morning, when I was finishing up clearing away the snow from the second storm, it dawned on me that I’ll probably be doing the same thing again tomorrow.
Shoveling for me these days is quite a chore. It’s not that I’m getting old, although I am, but it’s more that I have a hard time shoveling, not being able to see. Oh I can catch a quick glimpse of the maple tree on the north side of the drive, or the ash tree on the southern side, and yes, I might get my bearings once in a while if I can look back and see the contrast of the maroon van against the snow covered driveway, but as quick as a cricket, the visual cues come, and they go, and there I am, trying to figure out where the heck I am, in my own driveway.
Quite a few times, I have found myself standing still at the bottom of the drive, leaning on my shovel, or my scoop. I lean, and I listen. I listen for any sort of audible clue that may snap me back on track. A passing car, the tangled Red Sox wind chimes hanging from the corner of the garage, a faint whinnie from one of the horses across the way, and sometimes, there just isn’t any sound at all. Those are the times that try a blind billy goat’s soul. Those are the instances where I am forced to once again, try and find my visual cues that are scattered around my murky, fogged up world. Instant O&M lesson? You betcha! The pointed top of the blue spruce, the dull line of the porch roof, the rear bumper of the chevy van, the dark strip at the bottom of the porch door. They’re all my best friend when they show themselves, but there’s those times when they play hide and seek, and I can’t seem to find gooze.
Sometimes it’s very hard being blind. Sometimes it’s a never ending, non stop action adventure through a blank page full of one sightless scenario after another.
I was sitting in the van the other day, being my usual annoying, disturbing self, when my wife, kidding around, pulled down the front of my hoodie. I have a habit of wearing the hood up, especially on cold days as it keeps my head and neck warm. Anyways, she pulled down the hoodie over my eyes, and I said, “Hey! I can’t see what I can’t see!”
There I was, sitting in the darker than usual darkness, again.
If I could explain to you just how little I see, you might get an idea of what it’s like for me to get around. I used to tell folks that my vision was like looking through a cheese cloth, at dusk. There ain’t much I can see, but what I can make out, well, you wouldn’t believe how much it helps me get around. A sliver of this, a slice of that, a smidgen of whatever that is over there, and voila, I’m shuffling across the floor, through the doorway and into the next room. Blind billy goats on parade.
Well, now you see them, now you don’t. The shimmers are fading. The contrasts are growing dim. The light from the window is, at best, a gray, pale outlet to the rest of the world. It’s my world, and I know full well that it’s right there in front of me, but without being able to see it, it seems to always be just out of reach. Putting your hands on something is a wonderful sense. The touch, the feel, the texture, shape and characteristics are a gift. Notbeing able to see what it is though sort of builds a wall between you and whatever it is. The first thing you do is search your data base to try and find a close facsimile to what the object might be. And peoples faces? Well, that’s a horse of a different color, and a face of a million possibilities, circling around inside a mush melon full of unfinished sketches and scattered snapshots.
I can’t see your face, but I can hear your smile. I can’t see your eyes, but I can feel your gaze. I see so many different things these days that I never knew existed. A new view to the world, a fascinating look into a world of blacks and grays, mixed in with an occasional faded blue, dull yellow and a darkening orange. Once in a great while, I actually see the skin tone of my hand, and once in a wonderful blue moon, I catch a glimpse of the color of my wife’s face. Those are the visions I cherish most. The ones that take me back and help me to remember.
The skies are predicted to darken again tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t snow, again, but if it does, I’m ready for it, and so is my snow scoop.
I think it’s blue.