As I have struggled through various stages of Vision Impairment and Blindness and back again I have come to recognize how not Sound but Atmosphere plays such an important role in Daily Life. When I step outside post traumatic stress and all the neuroses and phobias that can come with it start to crowd in, So I steel myself for whatever challenges my journey into the "Outside World" may bring. “For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is.”- Master Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. When our Vision is obscured we tend to reach out with what senses we possess. We listen to and feel everything around us; gathering as much Situational Awareness as we can to understand the environment we are moving through in order to navigate it as safely as possible. We quickly absorb Smells, Sound, a chill in the Air, if the Sun is shining it's Rays upon us, Wind and other Tactile sensations, we might even feel the "Vibe" around us. The Mac on our desktop allows us to plan ahead with Mapping Tools available online such as Google Maps and others. My limited Vision allows me some benefit from Google's "Street View", when I am trying to find an unfamiliar address on foot. I covered Blind Navigation Tools in my last post so please read it: Is This Where I Get Off. if you would like to know more. For places you have never been to before there is Safe-T-Informant, by Balsam View LLC, described as a Personal Security iPhone Feature which Notifies you about traveling in potentially unsafe areas! The iPhone or iPad2 augments my reality even further through Zoom Vision when Gestalt images, i.e; (an image pieced together much the way a puzzle is assembled), in our sight fail to make sense, e.g; A Coke®, (Yeah that's right Coke®, you can thank me later) Machine Down the Hall confused for an ATM is identified properly with a quick click of "Camera" and a trip down the hall is not wasted. If you are blind and alone trying to identify a confusing object or whatever VizWiz by Medicare which empowers you to remotely recruit a sighted assistant who upon receipt of a picture can return spoken answers to interpret the image for you.
Situational Awareness becomes a greater task to obtain when we are encumbered with Winter Clothing. In the Cold we tend to withdraw from the freezing temperatures both physically and Psychologically into the depths of our Winter Coat with its snuggly hood. When we wear gloves we desensitize one of our greatest sensory assets as a Blind or Vision Impaired Person. My Hands are my Eyes in so many situations and trundling through the snow completely changes the landscape. Each Day as more snow falls, footsteps compact creating new paths, ice forms and melts to glassy or uneven surfaces wiping blank a map of what was well-known territory. For the Vision Impaired and Low Vision individuals Snow also brings the additional challenges of Gray days and Relentless Glare when the Sun peeks out. You may not want to know I was driving with Two full blown Cataracts at one time but that's the Mad-as-a-Hatter truth! As I drove through Vail Pass in the midst of a Snow Storm I realized the Tunnel through the Rocky Mountains would take me from pure White to complete Pitch Darkness! As I entered the Tunnel, at 65 miles per hour, I couldn't even determine which lane I was driving in. I shouted out loud from behind the wheel to brace my courage, "Use the Force Luke!" I soon saw light at the end of the tunnel and it was ferocious but I had conquered the Darkness and let the White lines guide me to the right side of the road. You might be relieved to know I no longer drive and now take the Bus! Furthermore, Night is the Equalizer, in the Darkness we are all challenged to find our way. Fortunately, the Atmosphere at night and after a fresh Snow does present one advantage and that's the Silence, for sound travels more easily when things are slow and still and it becomes much easier to discern direction and identify the noises we hear.
|Sirens ©2005 Michael O'Morah All Rights Reserved|
It is paramount to soothe extreme stress if you are to function effectively in any atmosphere. Your Stress Levels can be mellowed thanks to the built-in iPod, Aural therapy can begin with any song you love so long as it gives you peace. I also use Chakra Balancing and Meditations frequently when I feel a Panic Attack or Episode brought on by a collision with the odd branch or steel cable. One such app that may help turn a bad moment on its head is Universal Thinking Device by, Positive Applications LLC is an app that focuses on positive thinking and affirmations. With the Motto Think, Emote, Act; this app appeals to me as, it parallels some very Buddhist principles like, Right Mind, Right Thought, Right Speech and Right Action. Many other apps are good for relaxation and stress relief not all of them purposely designed for this! I may not be great at Bash Em by Kiloo kind of like the arcade game Whack a Mole but it is a great pressure release valve! Ahhhhh.