Please don't post all the pictures from your shoot, but chose 1 to 3 that are the best images or are most telling of your experience. Caption the photos describing something about your experience - that is as important as the image itself. Longer stories are welcomed and may be added to www.seeingbeyondsight.org.
If you depend on your eyes to get around, then it is hard not to use them. Although you can tell us about how difficult it is to be blind, focus more on what you noticed about the world as you embarked on this journey.
This experience isn’t about blindness – it is about seeing, noticing and paying attention with more than your eyes.
So I wanted to do this in an epic fashion, and the way I wanted to do it was make my completion dangerous. When I think of danger I think of scary urban settings and being attacked by shiftless no good layabouts out in the wild that is the modern urban environment, and we have just such a place here in Los Angeles downtown, it is very much like San Francisco's Turk and Taylor I would imagine. And today I had to go downtown to help set up the crazy monkey tree for our decom party tomorrow.
So I would complete this task downtown before or after the monkey tree assembly. Except there were problems. Problem one being that I couldn't find the monkey tree or it's builders. But that was a minimal problem, the real problem was that I had forgotten my camera at home, because I had to leave before the sun rose to get downtown.
So without my camera and no tree to build, I sulked off home again. But when I got home, I saw it. Let me first explain that I didn't actually go home. I went to my uncle's home where I am housesitting for the week. He lives up in a canyon. It's beautiful and quiet and wonderful. And there is a huge mountain in his backyard. I have hiked up the mountain maybe a quarter of the way before. Never gotten to the top. It is very very steep and full of shrubs and trees and hazards. I've always wanted to hike to the top someday.
Today was that day. But I would climb to the top blindfolded! Very dangerous. Almost more dangerous, because on the streets of downtown I could very easily be confused for one of them walking around with a blindfold. But up in these wild hills, there could be anything up there including cliffs, or wild animals, I know there are coyotes and rattlesnakes up in those hills. And I had no idea how high or steep it gets. Or what's on the other side. Perfect. I could totally push this to the limit.
The main problem to tackle was the blindfold. Every blindfold I have ever worn I have been able to see out the bottom past my nose. I wanted to alleviate that problem. I solved that by wearing a thick beanie hat backwards and over my eyes. It was perfect, I couldn't see a thing except light coming in when I was standing in direct sunlight.
Once I had the blindfold I went off. I went off a bit haphazardly, because I forgot to bring my water bottle, which I had set on a table next to my glasses. But with the blindfold on, I just didn't see it. Oh well. First I had to get past my uncle's cactus garden, but I was familiar with it at least, so I was able to get past that with no bodily harm. I had to scale a big wall and walk across the top of it, which wasn't too hard, because I'd done it before, but still, a little scary to walk along the top of a wall with an eight foot drop without being able to see. I took it very slowly. The rest of the assent would not be as simple as walking atop a wall and avoiding a cactus garden. At first it was OK, because there was a lot of green plants that were easy to grab and pull myself up with. But soon it turned to dusty dirt and the slipping started. I climbed most of the way up on my hands and knees. My back began to hurt after about ten minutes. And it was about the ten minute mark that I started encountering the trees.
These little twisted mostly dead trees were everywhere apparently, and I kept running into them. It sounds lame, but when you get caught in a little tree, there appears to be no way out when you can't see, because everywhere you turn, there's more tree or brambly awful little bushes. I got poked in the eye a few times and was glad to be wearing a mask. I always just kept pushing on, moving up, trying to go under and sometimes over any obstacle I encountered. I would just break through branches like a big dumb animal, and I hate doing that. i really enjoy being stealthy, and just being a big dumb wrecking machine sucked, but I could see no other way (pun intended).
The tree filled section lasted probably an hour and I was dirty, exhausted and full of sweat at the end of it, with a lot of little scratches all over. You're gonna see the pictures and think "what's the big deal?" and I wouldn't blame you, but it sure felt like a really big deal while I was doing it. I had no idea what kind of wildlife I was disturbing that might get pissed and decide to bite me, or if a branch I was leaning on would break and I would plummet off a cliff or whatever. Plus it was really tiring. I wish I could give you a minute by minute account of what I was experiencing like Lank or Loki or even Susy Derkins, but it really all just blended into one giant moment. One tree led to another, one particularly almost straight up ascent led to another. And the climb was so difficult most of the time, that I rarely took my camera out of my pocket so the pictures aren't as plentiful as I'd hoped. I only really took the camera out when I had stopped and it was fairly level (at least not life threatening) and it was safe.
After the awful tree section, the ground got a little more level, and the bushes got taller and less frequent and easier to circumvent and I didn't have to crawl on my hands anymore. But there were a lot more very sharp thorny bushes. Some of these I just sucked it up and pushed past, and others I crawled under. The leveling off of the ground made me feel that I was nearing the top. But there was still an incline, so I pressed on.
Then, after a few minutes I took a step forward, and the ground gave way, and I began to fall. Forward. I threw myself to the ground and stopped myself, but I had done it. I had reached the top and had fallen off the other side. I took pictures of the crest and then wanting nothing to do with climbing down blindfolded, I whipped off my blindfold and put the camera in video mode and ran down the hill.