In the last post I’d concocted, I mentioned a blogging pattern where I would write a post or mini series of posts that has something to do with my soon-to-exist-again YA sci-fi book series, followed by a real life story or story mini series, and then a book review—All with reblogs of others’ posts in between. In that last post, you also got an excerpt from my latest WIP of HECCTROSSIPY book 3 The Legend of the Land Lives Again. So, with all intentions of sticking with my blogging pattern, here’s a reality story.
Today I’m going to talk about the wonderful, miraculous world of sight. I used to have that thing, at one time. Man, oh, man, those were the days. I know I’m not setting any kind of good example for fellow blind persons when I say this, but to be honest, the world is a pretty dull and bleak place without having a decently functioning sense of sight. At the time I had it, I had taken it for granted, but in my mind, taking it for granted was a way of thinking positively. All through childhood and adolescence, there was always that threat hanging over my head that I might lose my vision someday. My eyeballs are underdeveloped, and they always looked like that of a human genetic engineering experiment gone wrong. So it made sense that my parents, teachers, and doctors believed that my visual function was on borrowed time. Like with a lot of young people, I dismissed this as, “Ugh, grown-ups think they know everything.” I refused to listen to such pessimism, which made me infuriatingly stubborn about not wanting to learn the necessary skills for adapting to vision loss, like learning how to read braille and use a cane. I clung to the delusion that I would never need such things. I believed that, if just the fact that I had eyesight was a medical miracle as it was, then why shouldn’t the miracle stay miraculous by being permanent? I believed that Jesus would heal me, as long as I had faith that he would and prayed about it. I believed that I was meant to have eyesight because I was an artistic person who liked to do all kinds of artistic stuff with colors and patterns and nail polish and Crayola products.
All the faith in Jesus and delusional optimism in the world couldn’t defend my fragile, squinty, stunted little eyeballs from the destructive effects of life-long Glaucoma. So to my elders and teachers and anyone else that pushed me and encouraged me to do the right, reasonable thing by learning the skills needed to adapt to blindness. I should’ve put my pride and stubbornness aside and listened. I humbly admit that I had to learn the hard way. I was wrong. You were right. (Ah, go fuck a pine cone.)
First my left eye succumbed when I was twenty, but that one was a hopeless cause anyway. Then when I was twenty-one, due to eye surgery complications, my precious good eye lost the ability to see things in clear detail. This meant good-bye to walking without a cane, enjoying looking at photos, seeing others’ faces, watching the night sky, the full experience of watching TV, getting the full experience of browsing stores, writing with pencil and paper without the need of special visual aides, enjoying most museum exhibits, and the list goes on for miles. From then on, my vision very slowly and steadily declined.
A little over two decades later, my Glaucoma beaten, remaining optic nerve is on its last days. There is no better choice but to surrender to the tragic fact that I’m going to be officially totally blind any day now. So to pay a few last respects to my dying eyesight and celebrate the short but courageous life of my little optic nerve, here is the first half of my list of ten awesome visual experiences I’m glad to have had the privilege of seeing. This list is in no particular order of awesomeness, except for the last experience being the best.
1. A HUGE GIRAFFE: I don’t know exactly what year it was, but I was in my early twenties. The parents and I were living in Homosassa at the time. Even though I wasn’t a kid anymore, we were still carrying on with the yearly family tradition of going to the Citrus County Fair. While there one evening, we went to see the exotic animals. There were camels and donkeys and foreign types of goats and what-not. Then among the menagerie, we spotted one giraffe. It was the time of evening between twilight and dusk, and the animals’ pen wasn’t that brightly lit, so I didn’t exactly see the giraffe in full color. But it was so enormous, I saw its silhouette pretty clearly against the pinkish purple sky.
I had seen a giraffe before when I was a kid, but it was a baby. I don’t remember if it was during a family outing or a school field trip, or whether it was at a theme park or an educational type of outing place, but I do remember being among the audience on outside bleachers and watching one of those shows where they bring out animals and educate the audience about them, while making the animals do tricks. The giraffe didn’t do tricks, but it pranced around for the wowed audience and was said to have been a rescue animal. I remember being surprised that it wasn’t yellow, like giraffes always are in illustrations, and in cartoon and stuffed animal form. Instead, this one was light brown with dark brown spots. Still, it was a beautiful creature. The baby was seven feet tall, but from where I was sitting, it looked smaller.
The giraffe at the Citrus County Fair was most definitely not a baby. I kid you not, but from ground level, it looked no shorter than the height of two stories. Even its body looked tall. The other large animals in the pen, like the camels, looked like their heads would be up to this giraffe’s shoulders. I didn’t think modern day land animals could grow to such a mutant size. The way its silhouetted form slowly crept along behind the other animals, with its angled neck extended towards the sky looked pretty scary. It reminded me of a dinosaur. I was in awe. That was one amazingly intimidating looking critter.
2. A MOUNTAIN RANGE FROM THE VIEW OF A HOT AIR BALLOON: It was December of 2004. The parents and I, along with my Aunt and her husband-at-the-time were vacationing in Tahoe Nevada. We stayed at my aunt’s Timeshare, and embarked on a whole week of adventure. It was one of the best, most fun and exciting vacations in my life. One of our adventures was a hot air balloon ride. This balloon flew up to nine thousand feet, maybe even higher. My detail vision was lacking,, so the view of Tahoe below resembled a quilt made of fuzzy green fabric, sloppily stitched together with frayed brown yarn. Among the quilted ocean of green and brown blur, we flew over a row of mountains which visually stood out like a flamingo in a flock of crows. Okay, silly metaphor. The mountains weren’t pink, of course. They looked blackish brown, and I could clearly make out their peaked shapes. I’d ignorantly thought the height we were flying at was about the same height as an average mountain, but from our gondola, this mountain range looked the size of a paper weight. Yeah, we had to have been over nine-thousand feet. I thought, wow, this is so crazy. Mountains are among Earth’s biggest geological structures, and now here they were, looking small enough to put on my desk, next to the pencil cup and electric sharpener.
3. A DESERT SUNSET: Another one of our Tahoe adventures was visiting Virginia City. December was off season for Virginia City tourism, so a lot of tourist attractions were closed. We went to a vintage candy store and a fudge kitchen, but the thing that stands out in my memory the most is when the sun was setting. It was nothing like the typical yellow, orange, and pink horizon sunsets in Florida. The Virginia City sunset was all giant streaks of yellow, orange, and red that took over the whole sky. It literally looked like the sky was on fire. The yellow and orange faded after a while, but the red lingered and darkened to a bloody crimson, making it look like the gods were hemorrhaging. As twilight turned to dusk, some of the bloody clouds turned even deeper shades of purple and reddish purple. It was the coolest sunset I had ever seen.
4. BEING INSIDE THICK CLOUDS: The last great big visual wonder in Tahoe started first thing in the morning. My Aunt and former Uncle slept in the condo’s regular bedroom, my parents’ room was the lock-off, and I slept on a couch bed in the living room. The living room had a picture window that viewed nearby mountains, which was a glorious sight to wake up to. Then one morning, I couldn’t see anything out that window but blank whiteness. This scared the hell out of me, at first. I’d thought my vision loss was accelerating at full speed, but then I looked around the room and saw that everything was just as partially blurred as it had been, the day before.
When everybody else woke up, they talked about the peculiar view that was seen through all the windows. Tahoe was at such a high altitude, my Aunt’s fifth floor condo was inside the clouds. If we took the elevator to the first floor and stepped outside, we would’ve just seen a normal cloudy sky over normally clear surroundings. But from five floors up, it was pitch white outside. I had never seen anything like it. I couldn’t see a thing beyond the whiteness. Not even the slightest hint of silhouetted mountains.
As the sun climbed higher, its light steadily made the pitch whiteness whiter. The sun itself was the only thing that pierced into view, but barely. The pitch whiteness actually drowned out a lot of its shine, reducing the sun into a lame shrunken speck of weaker white light.
We all decided to have a lazy morning that day and hung out in the condo until well into the afternoon. Still surrounded by clouds, the afternoon pitch whiteness was so bright, it looked like we were trapped inside a giant light bulb. It was amazing. The clouds did eventually release my Aunt’s condo from their clutches, but it took until almost evening for the sky to clear back up again.
5. A HUGE WATERFALL: It was the summer of 2008. The parents and I, my sister, Gina, and grandma flew down to Costa Rica to meet up with my other sister, Christa, and her husband, Marco. I think Marco had business stuff going on over there. It was an adventurous trip too. We did things like, going to a wildlife park that was on a volcano, and ending up staying a night at a bed & Breakfast that was right across the street from a gay bar and a whorehouse. Yup, prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. We witnessed what we thought was a drug raid on the whorehouse, but come to find out, the police were looking for illegal immigrant prostitutes who had snuck in from Latin American countries that were even more desperately poor and crime ridden than Costa Rica. And there were many other memorable moments of that trip. One of the most memorable for me was when we drove past a real waterfall. We were on a road that wound around and through vegetation covered mountains. I saw, what looked like vertical walls of land by the side of the road too. Among the green mountain sides and land walls was a spectacularly huge, high waterfall. It was huge enough for me to be able to see it through the car window, with my unaided eye, as we slowly passed it. I was amazed to discover that waterfalls really are a swimming-pool-like shade of light blue. I’d thought they were only portrayed as being that blue in illustrations and doctored up photography. Like how alligators are portrayed as being green when they are actually gray, and how elephants and blue whales are portrayed as being blue when they’re gray too. And of course, let’s not forget the misleading yellow giraffe. Nope, waterfalls are as blue in real life as they are in cartoon paradises and enchanted storybook fairy tale worlds.
I’ll stop right here at the halfway point. My list of ten was originally going to be one blog post, but having all ten wonderful, amazing, kick-ass visual experiences included would make the post about the size of a novella. Hey, maybe I should write a novella about these memorable moments. But until I do, keep your WordPress Reader tuned in for the next post about five more reasons to gush about the sighted world.
Love you all! Post you soon!