Heightened Senses

One of the stranger things about being blind is the feeling that other senses are somehow stronger. I don’t believe they are, but I certainly use them more – and it is highly rewarding at times. Over the years I have heard many people say things such as, “I’d rather be dead than blind.” It sounds dramatic, and a little harsh, and stupid – but I somehow get it: our world is visual, and I hate to not be part of it. Having said that, I must tell you how much more I appreciate my other senses because I am blind. And I know there are disabilities for all our senses, but I just wanted to remind you about how wonderful the other senses really are for me.

The taste and smell of a good meal or a hot cup of coffee are still wonderful. And because I am not distracted by the million beautiful things I used to see, I can truly enjoy these indulgences for what they are. I am sure a piece of red licorice is still presented to the world they way it was when I was a little girl at the convenience store – but the strawberry chewy taste isa piece of heaven for me now – more than I ever remember it, anyway. 

When my guide dog and I walk into a gathering of people, I know they are staring at me. Of course, I can’t see it, but I feel it.  There is his weird feeling that I can somehow almost hear people turning their faces toward me, feel them tilting their heads in my direction to motion to others that I am there.  Conversations stop abruptly. It usually lasts a few seconds, then someone clears their throat and the moment passes.  People go back to what they were doing. I can hear their bodies shift and the tension in the air release, it is a wonderful thing, hearing. 

Do I need to tell you how wonderful it is to hold someone’s hand? I often need to grab someone’s arm to let them guide me in a situation. It is functional and not very personal; but when I hold my husband’s hand, or one of my kids – it almost negates my blindness. It is that feeling of knowing that even though I can’t see I am connected to the space around me. Feeling the warmth of a loved one’s hand is  the best of all senses for me. It is sometimes just while we are crossing a street, or even just a quick squeeze to let me know they are beside me – but it is like looking at a painting so real that I feel like I am in it.

Touch and sound help me feel like I am in a space that does not exist for my eyes. It is knowing that my body is displacing sound and space and giving me my share of a room or an elevator or my piece of the sidewalk. They do not replace the beauty of eyesight I once enjoyed, but they have become so much stronger for me that I must share my love and appreciation for their role in my life. In our lives!