Saturday, April 22, 2006

Unexpected Memory

Something I forgot about living in Austin:

I was driving today and I had to slow down at a cross walk for a pair of teenaged girls who were crossing the street. This was nothing extraordinary, but one of the girls was carrying a ski pole (who knows why) and it triggered a memory.

When I lived in Austin, Texas, I lived in an area called Hyde Park. There was a school for the blind in my neighborhood, and it used to be a common sight to see blind students walking with their guides, learning to use the cane. On warm, misty days with the cottonwoods all green and the sidewalks fragrant after a rain, I'd watch their gentle progress, crossing streets, cruising around. Sometimes they'd be in groups of three or four, sometimes in pairs. I really loved to see them, and didn't even realize it until this morning. In fact, I had forgotten that aspect of my daily life in Texas completely. It came back to me and I realized how much that sight moved me. There was something graceful and gracious about the relationship between the blind student and the sighted teacher. They moved slowly, but with tentative confidence and trust. It was really nice.

Sometimes one of the people would be wearing a sleep mask type blindfold,I don't know why. Sometimes they'd have a seeing-eye dog. The dogs always struck me as noble,so focused. You're not supposed to pet them when they're working.

And I have an image of a middle-aged woman in a red-and-white striped shirt,and the cane sweeping the grass, and myself pausing at a Stop Sign with my dog on a leash, waiting to cross to the bakery--the best bakery on earth--Quack's. Just a normal day, probably a Saturday, and everyone was out walking.

I am glad I remembered this. It is a really nice memory, and I have very few nice memories of Texas.

That's all.


Blogger Boz said...

I think the sleep masks were used in teaching guides what it was like to be sightless.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Juan Bodley said...

I've been told (by thoughtless, I think) people that I should learn to use the cane in case something happens to my good eye, and I just say "I'll deal with it if it happens." In reality I'd probably cease to function if I lost the good one...

12:07 PM  

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