Archive | July, 2015

My Parents’ Gratitude List

28 Jul

by Nancy Scott

I sometimes wonder how my parents managed to raise two children, one of whom was totally blind. Hindsight is 20/20, even when you can’t see. So now I see many things my parents must have been very grateful for as I grew up.

For instance, they surely celebrated my ability to tell time. This was partly because I was a responsible child (or early control-freak). If my mother said “Inside by five,” I’d verbally start coralling my brother around twenty of.

Braille watches were and are expensive and fragile. The lids open and expose the hands. You can’t get them dirty or wet. I was not a fragile child. I went through more than a watch a year. But my new watch always arrived after about two weeks of my constantly asking, “What time is it?”

My parents were also grateful that I liked reading. They wanted me to have an education. They also wanted me to have something to do in the back of the car during three-hour trips to relatives’ houses. Beating my brother up or constantly asking “What do you see out the window now?” were somehow not agreeable childhood behaviors.

Until I could be distracted by novel-length Braille books, my parents spent considerable energy on an invented game concerning “claiming” expensive cars my family saw as we travelled. I of course was score-keeper. For instance, if someone claimed a wrong car or a car no one else saw, they lost one car and I got one. If two people claimed the same car at the same time, I got the car. My mother was bad at “Claim It,” so I got a lot of cars. Until adulthood I never suspected the game’s true purpose.

And speaking of long car trips, my parents probably breathed a huge sigh of relief when I mysteriously lost the very small amount of light-perception that I had. Its only practical application was knowing if flashlights worked when they held them up to my face. But seeing bright light from the corner of my left eye meant I could see cars’ passing lights. I counted 86 of them one night coming home from a New York visit to my grandmother. I thought I was very clever, but my parents tired of confirming each set of lights.

Naturally my parents’ gratitude list was longer than three things. Like when I finally learned about line-of-sight and stopped sticking my tongue out and annoying grown-ups who could see me but weren’t in the same room. (I also learned about corners.) Or that I finally got scared and stopped begging my mother to stay up with me for late-night horror movies. But you get the idea.

Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is a blind essayist and poet. Her over 600 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries. An essayist and poet, she has published three chapbooks. She won First Prize in the 2009 International Onkyo Braille Essay Contest. Recent work appears in Breath and Shadow, Contemporary Haibun Online, and Stone Voices.

 

Narrows of the Bay

15 Jul

by Deon Lyons

Summer time raises its head over the salt water flats

Buoy bells ring out across the early August morn

A lone seagull cries out from atop the canning factory roof

The day’s first tide marches in through the narrows of the bay

 

A newspaper delivery boy pedals down through a vacant alley

One lonely car makes its way down to the docks

A church steeple stands tall, waiting for the sun

Scattered clouds skip high across morning’s first light

 

Marquee lights flicker, then  burn bright at the local corner diner

A man sitting on his lunch pail pulls on his fisherman’s boots

Salty air slowly drifts up through the center of town

One by one, the boat engines come alive

 

Conversations of current events circle the salted planks

Two dogs scamper and run along the downtown shore

A bread truck comes to a stop behind the local grocery

A fog horn sings out from the watchful harbor light

 

Two barking seals slide off of the breakwaters edge

A young man on the deck of a boat repairs a lobster trap

A store front awning opens wide and proudly waves hello

A little girl and her mother give daddy a good bye kiss

 

one by one, the boats leave their wake as they head out to work, ,

A squadron of seagulls escorts the plowing hulls out to sea

A growing quiet settles in upon the emptying docks

One more hot Summer’s day wraps itself around the small, down eastern town

Read Deon’s bio directly following his previous poem/post, “Contrast.”

Contrast

9 Jul

by Deon Lyons

Each day I slowly walk past the easel.

Each day, I swipe at it with my paint brush.

Each day, I add one more stroke to the emerging canvas.

The mood of the day fills the brush with original color.

The journey of the day guides my hand towards the painting.

The experience of the day carefully pinpoints the stroke.

How many paintings have I seen?

How many canvases have I colored?

How many stories have I told?

The contrast is my opinion.

The emotions are the palette.

The sequence is my life.

The painting is me.

Deon Lyons lives with his wife in their home of 30 years in Maine, U.S. Here’s his story:

I was born in 1960 with bi-lateral retinal cancer and lost my left eye at five months old. With the help of some of the earliest radiation processes here in the United States, I was able to beat cancer and had good vision in my right eye until 2010, when I succumbed to a series of strokes, where the blood flow was cut off to the right retina, leaving me blind.

A lot has happened to me since then. My life has seen changes that I have had to work through and learn to live with. I am very fortunate to have had vision for fifty years, and am blessed to still be roaming this big blue marble we call home.

I have many interests, such as music, movies, gardening, DIY, sports, love of family and digital technology, specifically, assistive technology.

I’m happy to find my pillow each night, and feel very fortunate to have so many blessings in my life.

Losing my vision has reintroduced me to one of my favorite passions, writing. These past five years have shown me that one of the reasons I lost my sight was so that I could learn how to see, and many, many times, I have gained visions through the words that I type on the screen. Within each obstacle that we encounter, there always lies an opportunity. With hard work and inspirational cues, the possibilities are endless.