February 02, 2005

A Question of Sight

Having been born with extremely poor sight, I cannot remember a day of my life where I haven't had to view the world through my very thick glasses. As hard as it may have been for me to be the only two-year-old wearing glasses, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Mike May to lose his sight as a child only to be given it back later as an adult. His journals showed me not only how often I take my sight for granted, but how often I take the visual experiences around me for granted.

It was amazing to read Mike May describe his experience seeing some very ordinary things, like dust and a person's eyes, for the first time. When he described what it was like horseback riding for the first time with his sight I was shocked. I have ridden horses every year of my life since I was eight-years-old (thick glasses and all) and cannot even begin to imagine show jumping without having the ability to see. The fact that he was able to do so made me realize how in tune the blind must be with all their other senses, and how out of tune I must be.

Just as Mike May used his other senses to compensate for his blindness, the blind man in "The Cathedral" made the narrator use his other senses in order to understand blindness. In the beginning of the story, the narrator was a very bitter man with a rather absurd and ignorant prejudice against the blind. After meeting Robert and experiencing his "blind" portrait of the cathedral, he began to realize something new in the world and in himself. Although blind,, Robert was able to see the bitterness and emptiness inside the narrator. By opening the narrator's eyes to the world of the blind, Robert was able to start filling that emptiness. He was suddenly exposed to a world of beauty that he simply could not see before.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading both these texts, especially since I was left wondering what beauty in the world I was missing. What pleasures have I been unable to see simply because I can see?

Posted by JohannaDreyfuss at February 2, 2005 09:00 PM | TrackBack

I thought the horseback riding scene was very moving, too.

Everything, including dust (the bane of man-a-person's allergic tendencies, amazes him. As I said on my blog, if only we could have the same enthusiasm for the things we can discern.

Posted by: Amanda at February 3, 2005 03:14 PM
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