Thursday, June 9, 2016

I have Mumbi

I am not afraid of going blind as one might think.

I have Mumbi

I grew up in the last true generation of children. Where both parents were married and the mother stayed home. Where TV was rationed and your toys ran on imagination not batteries. Where you could leave your door unlocked and not worry about getting shot at school.

Where the radio was the closest thing to the internet there was. Where trees had names and were your friends. Where creeks lived and breathed and nourished the children all summer long.

Where you pulled your red wagon down to the library to haul all the books you checked out home.

Your library card was a passport, time machine, golden ticket to endless adventures...

I set out one summer to read every book on the kids side of the library. I finished the little kids section in three days reading them onsite a shelf at a time. The older kids section took longer. I got to the M's before I lost interest because I found a book on the adult side that caught my full attention.

It was a large brown book that was in braille. As I  sat at the table running my fingers over the dots, the librarian saw me and came up to my table with a identical book. "Start with this one" she smiled.

I opened that one and discovered it was a set of books to TEACH braille.

Those two books were checked out to me for the remainder of the summer. I studied and taught my self to read braille. Because, well after reading about Louis Braille each year at school I was lead to believe awl accidents were much more common then they really are; and I figured it was only a matter of time before I ended up blind.

So among my odd ball skills, I can list that I at one time was fluent in braille.

That summer I took a day and blinded my self.

I placed thick dark pads over my eyes and used a handkerchief to hold them in place. I spent the day that way.

Even went up to the park and played. Did my normal stuff around the yard and creek. Later in my room I explored my treasures. Pondering there meanings to me now that I was blind. Would they still be important? 

I got out my art pad and drew a page of doodles. Wondering if the next day they would look like I imagined as I drew them.

Then I went to the shelf of model horses and felt down the row, marveling how the ears tips reminded me of braille. I selected one horse as random and pulled it out. All my models had name and stories attached to them. They were my friends. I quickly deduced that I had in my hands one of my 8 Family Arabian Mares.

I kept going over and over her trying to see if I could tell who simply by touch, smell, taste, hearing.

At last I felt my way to my desk and placed the model on it and on a piece of notebook paper wrote.

I have Mumbi

That night as I went to bed I removed my blindfold, and went to sleep without opening my eyes. My dreams that night were fantastical spectacles of drama and purple lightening.

When I awoke the next morning, the world seemed so

Being blind was akin to the magical pull I feel being out in the darkness of night.

I went to my desk and there standing on the papers I had written and drawn on was Mumbi. My hands had known her.

and things didn't seen to dark.

While I don't think I could have handled going blind as a child. There was still so much of life for me to see.

But I think I could surrender to the darkness now if it were to come. Seeing is a special thing for sure, but my interests have changed as I have grown older. I no longer need to see with my eyes. My imagination is sooooo sharply tuned and highly developed that I "see" without seeing. If that makes sense.

I would gripe and belly ache and throw a hell of a pity party, but I think I could go on living.

In a sadly ironic twist, the peripheral neuropathy has robbed me of my ability to feel with my finger tips, rendering me deaf to braille.

However, I have within my head an endless library of the most incredible books never written. Available to be read over and over again.

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