I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days during his early adultlife.Darkness would make hime more appreciative of sight,silence would teach him the joys of sound.
Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see.Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods,and I asked Her what she had observed."Nothing ing particular,"she replied.I might have been incredulous had I not been accustomed to such responses,for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little.
How was it possible,I asked myself,to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note?I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me throuth mere touch.In spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter’s sleep.Occasinally,if I am fortunate,Iplace my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happyquiver of a bird in full song.I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush throuth my open fingers…
At times my heart crises out with longing to see all these things.If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch,how much more beauty must be revealed by sight.Yet, Those who have eyes apparently see little.The color and action which fills the world is taken for granted. It is human,perhaps, to appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not,but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding gullness to life…
I naturally,should want most to see the things which have become dear to me through my years of darkness…
If, by some miracle, I were granted three seeing days, I should pide the period into three parts.
The First Day
On the first day, I should want to see the people whose kindness and gentleness and companionship have made my life worth living.First I should like to gaze long upon the face of my dear teacher,Mrs Anne Sullivan Macy,who came to me when I was a child and opened the outer world to me. I should want not merely to see the outline of her face, so that I could cherish it in my memory,but to study that face and find in ti the living evidence of the sympathetic tenderness and patience with which she accomplished the difficult task of my education.I should like to see in her eyes that compassion for all humanity which she has revealed to me so often.
I do not know what it si to see into the heart of a friend through that "window of the soul,"the eye. I can only "see" through my fingertips the outline of her face.I can detect laughter,sorrow,and many other emotions.
I know my friedn from the feel of their faces. But I cannot really picture their personalities by touch.I know their , of course, through other means, through the the thoughts they express to me, through whatever of theri actions are revealed to me. But I am denied the deeper under standing of them, through watching their reactions to various expressed thoughts and circumstances.
The first day would be a busy one. I should call to me all my dear friends and look long into their faces, imprinting upon my mind the outward evidences of the beauty that is within them. I should let my eyes rest,too,on the face of a baby, so that I could catch a vision of the eager, innocent beauty which precedes the inpidual’s consciousness of the conflicts which life develops.
In the afternoon of that first "seeing" day,I should take a long walk in the woods and intoxicate my eye on the beauties of the world of Nature.Om the way home from my woodland walk my path would lie near a farm so that I might see the patient horses ploughing in the field (perhaps I should see only a tractor!) and the content of men living close to the soil. And I should pray for the glory of a colorful sunset.
When dusk had fallen, I should experience the double delight of being able to see by artificial light which man has created to extend the power his sight when Nature grants darkness.
In the night of that first day of sight, I should not be able to sleep, so full would be my mind of the memories of the day.
The Second Day
The next day-the second day of sight-I should arise with the dawn and see the thrilling miracle by which night is transformed into day.I should behold the magnificent light wiht which the sun awakens the slooping earth.
This day I should devote to a hasty glimpse of the world,past and present.I should want to see man’s progress.How can so much be compressed into one day? Through the museums,of course.Often I have visited the New York Museum of Matural History to touch with my hands many of the objects there exhibited,but I have longed to see with my eyes the condensed history of the earth and its inhabitants displayed there.
My next sTOP would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for just as the museum of Natural History reveals the material aspects of world,so does the Metropolitan show the diamend of the human spitit.Here is unfolded before me the spirit of Egypt,Greece and Rome,as expressed in their art.
The Thrid day
The following morning,Ishould again greet the dawn,anxious to discover new delights, for I am sure that,for those who have eyes which really see,the dawn of each day must be a perpetually new revelation of beauty.
This, according to the terms of my imagined miracle, is to be my third and last day of sight.I shall have no tome to waste in regrets or longings;there is too much to see.
The first day I devoted to my friend, animate and inanimate. The second revealed to me the history of man and Nature.Today I shall spend in the workaday world of the present.And where can one find so many activities and conditions of men as in New York ?so the city becomes my destination.
Now I begin my rounds of the city.First,I stand as a busy corner,merely looking at people,trying by sight of them to understand something of their lives.I see smiles,and I am happy. I see serious detemination, and I am proud.I see suffering, and I am compassionate From Fifth Avenue I make a tour of the city. First ,I stand at a busy corner, merely looking at people,trying by sight of them to understand something of their lives.I see smiles, and I am happy. I see serious determination, and I am proud.I see suffering, and I am compassionate.
From Fifth Avenue I make a tour of the city_to Park Avenue, to the slums, to factories, to parks where children play. I take a stay-at-home trip abroad by visiting the foreign quarters.Always my eyes are open wide to all the sights of both happiness and misery so that I may probe deep and add to my understanding of the imagines of people and things .Some sights are pleasant,filling the heart with happines;but some are miserable.To these latter I do not shut my eyes, for they,too are part of life .To close the eye on them is to close the heart and mind.
At midnight I would be blind again,forever, and permanent night would close three short day I should not have seen all I wanted to me. Only when darkness had again fallen upon me should I realize how much I had left unseen. But my mind would be so crowded with glorious memories that I should habe little time for regrets.Thereafter the touch of every object would bring a glowing memory of how that object looked…
I who am belind can give one hint to those who see-one admonition to those who would make full use of the gift of sight: Use you eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind.Hear the music of voices, the song of bird ,as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow.Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow you tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, as if tomorrow you could never smell again Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facts of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means os contact which Nature provides.