I am grateful I was able to see the world before my eyesight disappeared. By age thirty-five, I had traveled most of our fifty states and Canada’s ten provinces. My passport held stamps from half a dozen European destinations. I viewed the green, green hills of Kerry and the snowy summits of the Rockies. I strolled the Champs Elysee and the San Francisco Embarcadero. I photographed landmarks and locals. I looked, listened and learned.
Blindness has put an end to that wide world. While I have recovered from the implied terror of strange places, I prefer to travel familiar paths. I find that removing the sight from sightseeing leaves little. Oh, the smells of a French bakery, the sound of bagpipes and the feel of Irish linen remain compelling. But it just ain’t the same.
I used to pride myself on my independent, adventuresome spirit. Now it’s an adventure just taking the bus downtown. My generation has attained retirement, complete with Smoky Mountain bus tours and Caribbean cruises. Yet my bag remains unpacked, passport unused.
I’m pretty much OK with this change of life. But I’ve had this nagging worry that I’m keeping my wife from enjoying new vistas. I mean, she hasn’t confessed the compulsion to travel around the world in eighty days, but she may carry an exotic bucket list. At my mention of this, she says that, from her perspective, it’s time to ”go deeper rather than wider.” She’s going deeper by studying for a Masters Degree in a field that fascinates her. Her words made me feel better, not only from the self-centered fear that I have become burdensome, but at my realization that I too am going deeper. Deeper into the adventure of writing, reading and, well, being.