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Read a Selection from Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side

Photo of Big Hatchet Mountain with bright clouds above

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Traveling Blind is a romance, a travel adventure, an emotional quest, and a book about coming to terms with lack of sight. It explores the invisible work of navigating with a guide dog while learning to perceive the world in new ways. In a previous book, Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision, I described my initial experiences of loss of sight. Traveling Blind begins where Things No Longer There left off. As my eyesight worsened, I began to use a white cane and soon I wanted to have a guide dog. After completing a month-long residential training program, learning to walk with a lively Golden Retriever-Yellow Labrador by my side, I set out on my own, developing confidence as I traveled both local streets and more distant roads and byways. This book is a story of my travels and of lessons learned. –Continue reading the Introduction (pdf) or Introduction (doc)

Chapter 1, Starting at Sunrise

Photo of magnificent orange clouds filling the desert sky at sunrise

Big Hatchet looms in my imagination, a mountain glistening darkly against the desert sky. Lifting my binoculars to my eyes, I see it ahead of me, its broad silhouette topped by a dome and peak. To my right stretch the Little Hatchet Mountains. Between them, far off, shimmering like jewels in the distant sky, are the Sierra Madres of Mexico. I stand in a vast desert basin between these mountain ranges, surrounded by cactus and creosote bush and dust and little else and do not want to leave. This is a story about the day I traveled to Big Hatchet and did not stay long enough. It is also a story about my blindness, and about the particular ways that I see. –Continue reading Chapter 1, Starting at Sunrise (pdf) or Chapter 1 (doc)

Chapter 7, Navigating Duality

I am blind and I am sighted. I am often not sure of what I see. Do I see what is there? The images look so small. People on the street at any distance seem tiny to me, with thin legs that disappear in the shimmering sun. Often the people themselves disappear if they are not in my direct line of sight. Cars on the street also look tiny, like toy cars in the distance. Up close, however, they appear so large that I must take them in piece by piece: a part of a fender, the blue oval emblem that says "Ford." Though I can no longer read the brand names, I still play the game of guessing at the makes of the cars as Teela pulls me quickly past them. –Continue reading Chapter 7, Navigating Duality (pdf) or Chapter 7 (doc)

Photo of four golden luminarias glowing dramatically on an adobe wall

Chapter 10, Luminarias

I finally saw luminarias-at night in the dark as we pulled the car into the lot behind where Martha's Black Dog Cafe used to be. I had been to the plaza in the small town of Socorro before, but now it was very dark and my vision was limited in ways I might not be aware of until I actually confronted them, until I got outside and began to walk in the blackness among the small lights. –Read a selection from Chapter 10, Luminarias (pdf) or Chapter 10 selection (doc)


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