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by Frank Shortt
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Total darkness do I view through lifeless lids. I walk about place to place with only the sound of my cane striking the sidewalks.
When I enter alleyways, my resounding cane echoes loudly!
Today, I stumbled over a curb that I thought I was familiar with. Sprawling
headlong, a speeding motorist almost passed over my discomfited torso. The driver honked, people stared at me, not realizing my secret.
I righted myself with as much dignity as was allowable!
As a young boy, a terrible disease left me sightless. Dr. Adams, the best
eye specialist in the whole county, told my parents, “Your son will probably never see again.” They were devastated, as was I! I
loved the outdoors, exploring nature, digging arrowheads along the creek bottom, climbing trees to inspect bird’s nests from the first
laying of the eggs until the hatchlings began sticking their beaks up into the air, open-mouthed, to receive worms their mother brought.
But, Dr. Adams was wrong!
I was taught in a school for the blind to ‘see as I feel’. From short, exploratory trips out the front
door of my house, I began each day to familiarize myself with my surroundings. Soon, I was able to go to the neighborhood store and
was able to bring small objects to my mother, things she needed to run our household. As I grew older, I was able to make long trips
to the park. I always carried bird seeds in a little pouch in order to feed the many birds there. I could feel their presence as they
became familiar with mine. Soon, they were lighting on my hands and shoulders I began to know the different species by the feel of
their feet on my skin.
My sense of smell, hear, taste, and feel became very acute as I exercised the four senses that I was mercifully
left with. I could tell the pigeons and doves, which are of the same species, by the smell of the oils with which they keep themselves
clean from the inside out. Similarly, I was able to tell other species as they lit upon my hands and shoulders. As a result, I was
able to taste all the good things of life. My hearing became so sensitive that I was able to tell which bird was landing on my body
by the flutter of their wings. When they flew away, they each made a distinguishing sound that allowed me to know whether they had
become bored or if someone approaching them had startled them. Each bird has a very distinct sound that will let the hearer know of
which specie they belong. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other small animals also make sounds distinctly different from each other. In
this manner, I have been able to experience nature in a way much different from those who have sight.
So, Dr. Adams, It is with
great pleasure that I am here to proclaim, “I can see!” I can see the movement of things that others might not even notice. Seeing
movement? Who’s to say!