Monday 17 February 2020

The blind man

For the past 5 years I have lived on a regular road in the suburbs of Birmingham. 

This isnt the 1950s where everyone knows their neighbour's and leaves their front door willingly open. Our houses are secure and I rarely see my neighbours let alone know most of their names.  

We live in a society that doesn't observe we just look blankly through glazed tired rat race eyes. Can you even tell me what colour front door of the house opposite has or what curtains they have? Probably not. 

Being on a main road, emergency vehicles race past, allowing the room to glow flashing blue. Boy racers rev their annoying and unnecessary Vauxhall Corsas with ridiculous sized exhausts. Dogs sniff their waydown the path from lamppost to lamppost with their owners in toe. Parents push prams and grab hold of their children tightly so not to fall into the road. The post men scuttle up the road weaving their way in and out of the front gates.

A bus runs every 10 minutes into the city centre and I frequently watch double decker buses from my window pull up and collect and drop off more often than not an aray of cold looking people with ear phones in their ears staring blankly into there phone screens. It's a zombie nation.

Opposite my house on the other side of the road are a row of houses that over the years I've noticed that belong to several older residents. 

An elderly lady who lost her husband lives directly opposite me and I've become accustomed to her daily routine. And what time she opens and closes her curtains. What time she collects her newspaper and how she keeps seasoned flowers blooming in her garden so it constantly looks a bloom of colour. She is always dressed smartly and has her white hair set in her short style. 

Four doors down from her lives an elderly couple. A blind man and his wife. I'm unsure where he has been or where is going but several times a week he gets collected in a taxi and dropped off.

The regular taxi firm helps him get out of the car and I watch him walk back, occasionally stumbling using only his white cane. Dodging the uneven path where roots from trees have burst through the concrete.

His wife awaits at the door and always gives him a kiss before she takes the bag he is carrying from his arms. Before he takes the final step into their home. 

For his blindness prevents him seeing like you or I. Yet I feel he sees so much more. He may not see colour and shapes and be able to indulge in the power of sight but sometimes I think he sees more than me. 

I suffer from blindness yet I have full sight. His vision is probably more intact and unobsecured than mine is and he is blind.

I'm not sure if he has always been blind or whether it came on by an accident, trauma, illness and deterioration. 

As he sways his cane from side to side along the path and through his gate to his front door. I have no doubt in my mind that he knows that path better than the people who wait on it for the bus, who can physically see it. 

They say if you loose one of your senses, that the others over compensate. He can't see, but I bet he knows what flowers are planted in next doors garden, how tall the wall is, how stable the fence is, what music the neighbours play, what perfume the dog walker is wearing. He sees far more than any of us. 

I wouldn't wish actual blindness upon anyone but perhaps we should take a leaf out of his book and be more observant and engage in our senses. Look and see. For sight is beautiful let's not take it for granted. 

I am going to attempt to be more mindful and actually try to be more observant. See the things around me in greater detail. See things for what they really are. I'm hoping that this process will enable me to indulge in the weird and wonderful colourful world I live in. 

How well do you see? Are you at full vision or partially sighted? 

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