How this got started.

I haven’t been blind my whole life. Having RP, I witnessed a slow loss of vision over the course of several decades. The time came to accept my present state, and apply for O&M training.

My “Blind Teacher” worked diligently to get me at least somewhat graceful with “Thing 2”, one of many mobility canes. I practice “being blind” on the streets of Sedona, still using my vision for navigation, while letting Thing 2 identify terrain changes and obstacles. Very quickly did I get frustrated as I learned that, as hard as I work the cane and skills, my safety is often jeopardized by people- pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike- who simply are not paying attention, or ride on the sidewalk, or doing who-knows-what on their phones. “What more do I need to do to be safe around here?”

During roughly the same time, my family pointed out that I need to ‘stay in the game;’ to remain independent, capable and engaged in life. In other words, do what I have to do to stay involved.

But it’s not easy, with RP. I know that, as dusk approaches, I will once again become effectively blind. Subconsciously, the “fear” would creep in, and I would morph into a tense, nervous, angry person. I turn into a creature who is growly and mean, but only at night. I become a werewolf. Every night. Until I realized I have to be proactive, and prepare for what I know will happen. Why not? It always does! So I formed a new habit of carrying a small yet powerful flashlight and Thing 2 wherever I go, all the time. With these tools on my person, I am now prepared for the day- aware of my needs. I am now an Aware wolf. Get it?