A Sight For Sore Eyes

The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss



Sometimes people stare at me as I stride out in public with my cane.  Winter

January snow!

is the worst time for me because I never trained in the snow. So I just make it up as I go along. I can’t move forward with nice smooth arcs because the snow is lumpy, and the sidewalk, even parking lots, aren’t shoveled properly. So my cane gets stuck. I pull it loose, and oh my goodness, I gotta beware nobody is near because I could easily. Hit. Them. In. The. Head.

That hasn’t happened yet. But it’s a fear of mine.

Apparently, it’s a fear of theirs too. Because people give me a wide berth.  Like they fall into the snowbank avoiding me.  Well, I saw it once happen to a little kid. But then again. Maybe he was dragging his feet. Or learning to walk. Or his eyes were focused on “the stick” I was steering. Kids always stare at my stick.

Kids always stare at my stick.

Children are always naturally curious...

I like it when they say, “Mom, why does that lady have a stick?”

“Mom” usually jerks them by the arm and shushes them loudly, “Shhh! She can’t see anything, even you.”

I look out the corner of my eye as surprised kids  swerve and mothers  yank strollers out of the way.

No. But I can hear you just fine.

Sometimes when I feel people’s stares (usually summer), I imagine their amazed expressions as I glide past them with my awesome skill and speed, especially if I’m making my way down the street.   I imagine they say, “Boy, can that lady move!”

The only problem with that is the unexpected disaster. If I’m outdoors and the weather is just the right poor mix, I run the risk of my cane skipping through a mud puddle and causing a tidal wave around me.

Or in this weather, I can hit a snowbank. I can see it now.  My cane slips. I topple over (or down!) head first into the snow as my cane (itself feeling the danger) clumsily seeks out some harder surface  to ground itself. Worst case scenario, it lands in powdery-soft snow and slides through it, causing an unsuspecting fellow traveler to trip on the sidewalk where my cane lands in an unceremonious  muffled fall, bouncing a few times in the process.

I can picture the shocked gaze now.

The slo-mo fall, one knee touching the ground then the other, an arm reaching out…

I like to think I will catch them  before they completely skid out of control.

That will make me the hero, right?

A blind hero at that.

Actually, to be precise–a blind heroine.

I can dream up any number of scenarios to make myself feel better.

Winter just isn’t my time of year.  The piles of white stuff throw me off balance.

If canes could talk, what stories would mine tell?

My right hand tires the longer I navigate. Though gloved, it’s both frozen and shivering simultaneously in the sub-zero temperatures while I attempt to creatively navigate the rolling ball tip across the unknown elements winter presents.Forget the black ice. I can’t even see the white ice. When people jovially sing, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” they have no idea I’m just around the corner. With my big long stick. Creating new ways to forge uncharted snowy grounds–or more like “snow mounds.”

In January, I hold onto the warmth of  those special summer memories when I appear so speedy and awesome to others. All the while I  get ready to shout, “Duck! Cane on the loose!”

If canes could talk, what stories mine would tell!

You’ve read “Cane Talk.” © Amy Bovaird, January 2014. If you enjoyed this article or gained  new insights on visual-impairment, please SHARE it with others and do be sure  to leave a comment!

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12 thoughts on “Cane Talk

  • January 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I loved this article. Great writing on a serious subject. I never considered the problems before. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • January 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Amy. I admire your courage to risk the unknown. And the humor you make out of your cane stories. 🙂 You remain an inspiration to me.

  • January 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Suzanna, so glad you enjoyed my post! One of my goals is to educate through humor.

  • January 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Trudy, thank you so much! An excerpt of this will go in my mobility book entitled, “Mobility Matters! Stepping Out in Faith.”

  • January 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story, Amy. I so appreciate your vulnerability and courage it takes to write about such an emotionally charged issue. I appreciate your perspective as it helps me grow as a person. And humor to boot! Awesome.

  • January 18, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Thank you, Tandy! Your comment made my day! –Amy

  • January 20, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Thank you for sharing cane talk. I finally gave mine a name. In the beginning I just called it Al for Albatross, but is my friend now. I admire your courage. I still have not mastered snow navigation.

  • January 20, 2014 at 2:38 am

    That is hilarious that you gave your cane a name. I love it, and that Al is your friend now. Isn’t it amazing how our thoughts and feelings change when we become more mobile – in spite of the mishaps – we are still mobile. So happy to connect with you! Please come back and check out my blog again.

  • January 21, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Mobility is great, I was just stubborn. I enjoy your blog and have one myself, though it is fairly simple. sightessinsight1@blogspot.com. I am still adjusting and appreciate your humor. I am sure I will learn alot from your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  • January 21, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Yes, I took a look at your blog this morning. Sightless Insights. I love that title!
    I also enjoyed your post, one written just after the new year. So glad you are using your cane more. It’s really a gradual process as our minds makes that progress… Tonight I read your latest post on your son changing the light bulb in your house because the place was so dark. He was looking for the way to tell you. Funny how you said you were getting a tan because the place was so bright. Wow. I’m the first to say “We need more light here.” Love connecting with you.

  • January 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I love your attitude AND your sense of humor. Perhaps you should install a cane-cam to document you & your cane’s adventures?

  • January 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Now there’s a thought, Alyssa! =)

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