I’m raking autumn leaves in my front yard. I pile them high, high enough I just want to jump in and roll around. But I’m a man at work, not at play, so I scoop them into big brown bags, lug the bags to the curb and…I…become…disoriented. Nothing is where it should be and what is there shouldn’t be.
I don’t panic, though it’s tempting. I piece the scene together — curb, parkway, sidewalk, OK. I start raking leaves again. The front door opens and my neighbor Martha says, “Gee, thanks, Jeff. Is this random kindness or do I owe you?”
Becoming disoriented is disorienting, but ending up across the street is astonishing. I blame the October light, all shards and angles. It turns my cataracts into mirror balls and assaults my wounded retinas with strobe lights.
Disorientation is a buzz kill. It shoots me from an autumn-induced, leaf-raking acceptance back to square one on the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. But denial holds no credence when I must ask my neighbor for directions to my own house. Anger isn’t an option when I’m so frightened all I want is to flee to familiar turf
It’s depressing to think I might need to use my white cane at home. I have viewed my space as a respite from blindness, at least the getting-around part of it. But how far things have fallen.
Maybe I can bargain my way out of this mess. If I’m more careful out here and kids keep their bikes off the sidewalk and the lawn guys don’t run their mower over my feet, then I’m pretty safe. But this bargaining is sounding more like rationalizing, and that’s not healthy.
So, what’s next? Harness Randy to help rake leaves? Rake one-handed, white cane in the other? Venture out only in October overcast? I’ll ponder a solution. Meanwhile, I’ve got a job to do. I pick up my rake, tap my way back across the street and hug the maple tree in my yard, the one whose leaves brought me into this dazzling, disorienting October light in the first place.