Old Man Weather and Blind Eyes

I’m watching rain, to the degree I watch anything as I’m legally blind and rain is not immediately apparent so much as it’s a degree, a palpable abstraction. In fact rain is for me much like the faces of friends or strangers. I can’t see your expressions my friends, my enemies, my policeman, my good samaritan. Your features are like the weather—by turns dry, notional, endlessly mysterious, cold or wet.

Years ago on a street in Helsinki I met an old man who accosted me—upbraided me—for having said “I see…” —perhaps the most common locution in American English. I’d been talking to my pal Tim about something rather ordinary when I saiid it. Poof! The man appeared beside us. It was startling. One second we were alone on Runeberginkatu, the next there stood a man so old Tim later told me his skin was almost transparent. He was terribly thin and dressed in a black suit and he was shaking with urgency. “Why do you say you see?” he said.

Then he admonished us: “you don’t see! You understand!”

He was the genius of pavement; he was not of our world. He vanished right before us.

And we’d both seen him.

He was the weather I cannot see. The trees I can’t observe. The faces I’ll not know until some other life.

Yes I’m an animist.

It’s raining in the near. Old men and women are pointing their fingers. Get your words right.

2 thoughts on “Old Man Weather and Blind Eyes

  1. Dear Ingrid, thank you so very much for your kind words. You too have had a life of complex wisdom gathering, to say the least!
    Your note means a great deal to me. All my best!

    Like

  2. I am reading your book “Have Dog, will Travel” with great enthusiasm, in fact I want to read it slowly because its contents embraces so much wisdom about life in general. Already the quote by Chogyam Trungpa caught my attention.
    Why am I so taken in by your writing? I don’t have the experience of being blind which confronts you with behavior of your fellow human beings in a special way, often based on cultural attitudes very deeply engrained.
    I am 85 years old, emigrated to the USA with my late husband & 2 children from Germany where I had the experience of WW II being a refuge twice.
    I found out about the raising & training of Seeing-eye dogs which was very interesting to me. You do a fabulous job in describing this process in detail, be it the physical or the emotional part of the “team”. Amazing what is involved!
    Thank you!

    Like

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