A World of Sounds and Shadows
By Talha Masood
The 15th of October every year is celebrated as the International White Cane Day. It presents us with an opportunity to understand and reflect upon how a mere cane with the white tip is more than simply a means of navigation for those without sight. It is a symbol of their special identity as dwellers of a world of sounds and shadows. It is a world where the beauty of life is not an abstract, and intangible concept. For like the sighted would appreciate the beauty and wonder of something apparent and visible to the naked eye, in the lightless world of the sightless the beauty of life and of the world all around us cannot only be felt but witnessed and appreciated as God’s greatest gift to humanity.
To answer the question of how to let our first endeavor to understand the significance of white cane which connects the people of the world of scenes and images with these dwellers of a world of sounds and shadows. The use of a white cane extends the sense of touch of a person with which he/she is able to make a mental map of their surroundings. As a result, after they are well oriented with the area they can move about freely and most independently of others. However, the use of a white cane is not only limited to mobility purposes only. It also allows a person without sight to establish an identity as one in a dignified and respectful manner. For instance, many users reveal that the cane helps them to break the ice with the sighted and bridge the communication gap. For as soon as somebody sees a white cane in somebody’s hand they instantly make a connection between its use and the person’s visual impairment. Then, either step forward to offer their assistance or stay standing to watch and experience the novelty of seeing a person who uses the white cane to see where he/she is going and avoid the obstacles. So, in a way, the use of white cane also helps the visually impaired to determine the attitudes of people.
It is precisely such attitudes which denote the beauty or the ugliness of a person in the world of sounds and shadows. For a person who is not bound by the barriers of sight and appearance is a studier of souls and the essence of life which throbs like an ever-beating heart all around them. Simply put, though the sight allows them to maneuver around the roads and pathways they walk upon confidently and with ease, it also hinders them from seeing beyond the limitations of appearances. Consequently, they often make blind judgments about others Basing on what they see or believe they have seen and accordingly stumble in the course of their daily lives. Interestingly, though the unseeing require their white canes to make sense of the roads and pathways, they do not need its assistance to glimpse the beauty and wonder which adorns every soul, the darkness and ugliness which threatens to tarnish that beauty.
Additionally, it should be acknowledged that though we live in a world full of colors, yet we fail to truly understand its beauty and taking the blessing of sight for granted. Ironically, to the vision of those whom this world and its colors, life, and all its happenings, are a great Symphony of countless melodies, such a beauty is not only mesmerizingly apparent but simply awe-inspiring. Perhaps this is why Helen Keller wrote that “the seeing see little”.
In essence dear readers, today’s celebrations do not only pay a tribute to the unseeing but also remind us to acquire the vision with which we too can appreciate the beauty of this world. So let’s not be bound by what we see only! Let us feel and immerse our lives in the beauty we are surrounded by! Whether seeing or unseeing, let us relish the fact that our lives are rich and wonderful with an infinite variety of colors!
“Though I live a life long night and never bathe in the golden glory of the face of day,
I have my own suns and stars,
constellations upon constellations of people whose shining splendor brightens my horizon and illuminates my life.”