Navigating October Through the Years

Fall tree ablaze with color – (Royalty free photo share) 

Childhood Fall Days

Even before ! started using a white cane, October was an important month to me. Fall leaves billowed in the air. They crunched under my feet. Neighborhood residents burned them before all the ordinances came. My father raked leaves and as kids, we jumped in them. We went on hayrides. Carved pumpkins. Dressed up, Marched around our town fire hall every year in original costumes. Someone in my family always won–usually the result of Dad’s box-man costumes. We drank apple cider and ate doughnuts. Best of all, in October we celebrated my birthday.  That meant a special meal, cake and ice cream and usually a party … and presents!  

“Momijigan” in Japan

Living in Japan gave me another unique experience during the fall months. Momijigan (admiring autumn leaves) was an activity everyone there participated in. I lived on a naval base near Yokohama so I hit the hiking trails off base, visited shrines and temples with friends, and even traveled to Kyoto, which is one of the famous places to see leaves changing. Souvenirs year round include momiji-manju (bean paste maple leaf sweets) found at areas famous for their maple trees. I have an extraordinary memory of traveling to Fukushima prefecture to see the foliage with my Japanese boyfriend.  But it unexpectedly began to snow–and hard!  We took some photos at Gosshikinuma (FIve Colored Lakes). 

Here I am after the sudden onslaught of snow in Fukushima prefecture

Colorless Years

In 2006 I returned back to my hometown for good. My father passed away a month later. Fall lost its vibrancy for me that year. But not only did it psychologically lose its colors, it also physically did. The only trees I noticed were the ones I ran into. I was losing my vision rapidly. Those years encapsulated uncertainty, stagnancy and fear. I was going blind. What would my life hold? 

Cane-crunching Fall Leaves

I learned to navigate with a white cane in the fall of 2008. The leaves crunched still beneath my feet and my cane whooshed them to one side with a crackling sound. Somehow the sounds of crisp leaves caught under my cane comforted me. Looking back, it meant that I wasn’t LOSING my autumn. As my mobility instructor said, I was learning to experience it in a new way.  Using my new cane felt odd and out-of-place, like a magnet for the world to view me differently. But I told myself if I persevered, the odd  would replace the norm. 

Emergence: October 2014

In October 2014, I felt like one of the bright colorful leaves because I had gone through such a transformation–from uncertainty to the beginning of confidence. On October 3, 2014, I launched my first memoir: Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith. People would get to know the low vision version of me. But that was the only “low” aspect about me. I had “high” energy and drive. I exchanged teaching in the classroom to educating in small forums. I added a new set of special days to October–Blindness Awareness Month. And my birthday, of course, fell within the month.  But better for my birthday to fall than me!  

Humor Prevails: October 2016

In October I finished my second memoir, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility with a planned November Launch. I had learned to feel at ease with my vision loss and to poke fun of myself when things didn’t turn out quite as I planned them — even with or perhaps because of, my white cane. I now became a tool to encourage others. I started to refer to myself as the “The Low Vision High Expectation Motivator.” God gives us the free will to choose our response to our situation. For me, optimism, faith and laughter resumed. October also brought about a children’s song and white cane video created by two musician friends and me to use as an education tool in schools. 

Today Brings Bestselling Author Status and Speaking Opportunities

On October 1-5, I launched a free giveaway of my book, Cane Confessions, to share the message of how we can choose to overcome our obstacles and live a full life. My publisher describes my book in this way, “Determinedly sweeping away her fears, [Amy] starts to celebrate the reality of vision-impaired independence.”  From launching this promotional campaign, I learned to persist and to believe in myself.

Guess what?  Readers downloaded 801 free kindle books in five days. In that period, I became an Amazon bestseller in the US and the UK!! I would have never dreamed this possible with such a narrow writing niche. I feel humbled and honored. 

You and I can positively impact others when we believe in ourselves and persist in our goals. 

Today I continue to educate not only through my books but also through speaking. On Tuesday, the host of Spoonfuls of Courage will interview me via Skype. On Thursday, I’m talking about National White Cane Safety Day to a Toastmaster’s group. On Saturday, I present a hands-on workshop on memoir writing at a local writer’s conference. God has swept me forward, no doubt about it!  


Future Octobers

I’m not sure what the future holds for me. As my vision continues to worsen, I’ll see less and less of the beautiful leaves that October produces. But I believe I will become more and more colorful myself. God will continue to use me to encourage others to embrace both vulnerability and strengths we each have. 

God will use us if we make ourselves accessible.

Where do you see yourself going in the future? As an advocate for change, what area interests you? 

 You have just read, “Navigating October Through the Years,” by Amy L. Bovaird. © October 7, 2017. Don;t forget to leave a comment. 

Navigating October Through the Years
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4 thoughts on “Navigating October Through the Years

  • October 9, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I sure do love reading your works. You are such a clever wordsmith. We love the “Low Vision High Expectation Motivator” description, for you surely are!!! Your tenacity is both impressive and inspiring.
    As for where we see ourselves going in the future? We’ve been praying for guidance on that. We go, go, go so much and we want to slow down a bit… We’ll continue to pray and see… Our goals are still to bring joy and happiness to seniors in communities across the country through our music with, but maybe we can find a more efficient way to reach more with less moving around for us? I still LOVE to travel and have a new view outside my window every week or so. When we sit too long, I get rammy. You see our conundrum.
    I would love to be an advocate for a couple things as we travel, so that may open up other opportunities. We’ll see what paths God opens for us down the road.

  • October 10, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you! 🙂 I will need that tenacity this week. So much is going on!!
    It’s a big decision and i can certainly see why you would like to slow down and yet you make such a difference to so many!I think you are doing the best thing, praying about it with your prayer team (of which I humbly belong to) and waiting for God to speak. Yes, i do see your conundrum and what a wordsmith you are as well–waiting to see what God has in store for you — “down the road.” Blessings on you, Larry and King Henry with your ministry!!

  • October 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Loved this too, and by the way we missed autumn’s colors while in the Middle East, 14 years for me. Maybe it was 9 + for you.

  • October 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Hi BL,
    Yes, we sure did! I thought about that. But we had so much fun eating out it kind of made up for losing the leaves!
    Thanks for commenting!

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