I stand up, swinging the heavy bag over one shoulder, unfolding the six sections of the cane with their hearty, reassuring clicks. Mobility is a mess of sensations. “Can you make it?” — it’s the question on others’ lips, but they’re whispering compared to the voice in my head. “Can you make it?” Don’t be a hero. Reach for that elbow you love. It’s comfortable.
If I can get outside my head and into the world, I realize—it’s only three turns. The cane slips forward, gliding scratchily along that nasty carpet, and I round the first corner. A moment of confusion as the bright lights of reception blur out the notable, the necessary features of the doorway. Take a minute to adjust.
I s l o w m y p a c e And…they’re clear.
Abrupt right turn. The first of three long lengths seems easy. I round a corner by a water fountain, a left turn — the sunlight shining through a glass door nearby is a beacon. Don’t turn there! The next length is darker, more sedate, but free of distractions, easy to travel, good for concentration. Right turn. And I get a rush! from seeing such familiarities. I start to recognize with my eyes that I’m where I should be. Intuitions aside, I can now track visually the path to my office. Veer right, follow the wall, pass the screaming panel of glass that throws sunlight at me. And another short, dark hallway until one door, two! That’s me. I can stop, reach for the keys, and unlock it.
It’s not enough to be mobile. I must be a mobile mind.
* This entry was featured in the Summer 2012 edition of the ILAB GAB, the quarterly newsletter released by Independent Living for Adult Blind in Jacksonville, FL.