Today I continue on the theme of blindness. When I first discovered that my friend had no perception of light and dark, I was intrigued to find out what she ‘saw’ when she closed her eyes: Was it black? Was it white? Was there colour?
Her response made me take a step back …
“No! There is just nothing!”
Yet, as we talked about colour and shade and clothes and house decorations I was staggered that she had the most amazing concept of colour and co-ordination. She could go into her wardrobe and pull out clothes that matched and then go to her jewellery and find an appropriate necklace and earrings. Now to me, it didn’t matter whether what I saw as green related to how my friend saw green, or whether it was anywhere near the same shade or colour. I was confronted with was a lady who, when she closed her eyes (or kept them open for that matter) could ‘see nothing‘ yet could perceive in her mind colour matches and co-ordination to fine degrees of detail.
And my surprises weren’t over!
As a musician I was used to playing in bands where we could sit and jam and create new songs. We would come to a stop and everyone would sense it at the same time. But in most cases there was some eye-contact which indicated that ‘something was about to happen’. My friend had none of those benefits and yet was able to jam with the best of them (partly helped by perfect pitch and extraordinary sensitivity and skill on the piano) and could finish with the rest of us, right on the button!
I was learning very quickly that creativity was not confined to those of us with the benefit of sight. My friend would describe pictures that she saw in her mind, musical pictures that were stimulated through conversation, sounds, taking a walk … many things. During discussions new light would be thrown on old problems simply because she was able to see things from a different perspective. And it was amazing how many times those ideas were the key that unlocked the door to new discoveries and new ways of doing things.
I was struck how differently we could see situations; metaphorically and physically (though she had a slight disadvantage!) and yet how synergistic these views often were. They weren’t ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; they complimented each other, rubbed against each other, challenged each other and in so doing released something new.
I know that my perspective on life has been greatly enriched by knowing this friend. I hope that each of us can find something fresh from relationships that may have become stale or contentious because of our different views.
Perhaps if we saw the potential rather than the problem we could all benefit.
I think for my next post I’ll do a ‘live’ interview with my friend so that she can speak to us all directly, in her own words.