A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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See What I Mean?
11 Apr
By 2020
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by Randy Pierce

As the blazing red sun slowly slipped below the last range of mountains to our west, the purple, blue, and green hues of several mountain ranges ever closer to us provided radiant beauty to the scene. High upon the shoulder of Mount Washington on July 4, 2010, the striations of the wispy clouds, which reflected red to pink, capped the magnificent splendor of an amazing sunset that unfurled beneath us while at Lakes of the Clouds hut. Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture that scene we so well appreciated. Now consider this, if you did picture it (and many report they can), you did so without ever seeing it. In fact, you did so because someone, who also never saw the scene, described it to you. How can this be? Sight is only twenty percent eyes, and an impressive 80 percent brain, which collects the eye data and formulates the image. We use neurology to craft imagination to vision, and along with the benefit of past visual experiences, create our individual interpretations of a picture.

In short, you experienced it precisely the way I did, despite my total blindness. Without question, I am in debt to the descriptive enhancement my many friends gift unto me as we share our journeys together. People are often concerned that their detail isn’t sufficient, but the simple fact is that each person provides the detail that stands out for them, and through the amalgamation of all these unique interpretations, I am able to create in my mind the richness I would likely lose otherwise. I “see” through these descriptions, and the meaning of my life is unquestionably enhanced as a result.

July 4th, 2010 at Lakes of the Clouds

So in the frequent discussions of what it is a blind person cannot do, which a sighted counterpart may accomplish, “see” is the most obviously correct answer. I think the inspirational detail above might just call into question that very answer. Meanwhile, allow me to give thanks for the past, present, and hopefully many future descriptions that will enrich my life! More specifically, thanks to the many people who provide, in their own way, the essential descriptive details through which I see!

One response to “See What I Mean?”

  1. John Swenson says:

    What a great perspective Randy. I have a new view of my role in our hike this summer-helping create the images that will help you to see our time on the trail. Very much looking fowrward to it.

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