What Signifies A Game Of Fetch

before the rubber ball leaves my hand

the air welcomes it

and briefly

all laws of gravity and politics

fall away

because within the world of this miniature sun

abides the sacred space of anticipation

the unfettered joy of leaping forward

free and unafraid

the singularity of space and time

of motion and stillness

Because there is only this circle of living light

soaring on invisible wings

waiting to be seen and cherished and delivered back to me

wet with slobbery delight

Weather Report

Weather Report

by Joan Myles

Fog on a Monday ain’t so bad

As long as Sunday’s heart was glad

And Tuesday’s plans don’t make you mad

Because it’s only weather

Dark in the window ain’t so bleak

If the kitchen sink don’t leak

You may fret and feel a freak

But at least we are together

How Much Do You Know About Braille? Learn More Reading These 15 Facts

*Because reading and writing are such a significant part of my life, every January I try to say something meaningful about braille. The following is a lovely tribute, packed with surprising and interesting facts*

Empish J. Thomas

Empish Reading Braille

January is the time we, in the blind community, celebrate Braille Literacy Month. Braille is a code created for reading and writing. This code, which is a series of raised dots on paper, has revolutionized the lives of people with vision loss because it has opened doors of literacy, education, employment, and independence.

History of Braille

Additionally, Louis Braille’s birthday was on Jan. 4 and this date is recognized internationally as World Braille Day. Braille was a Frenchman who lost his vision from an accident as a small child. His family enrolled him in the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. As a teenager there, Braille began the process to create a reading and writing system by touch. He continued to perfect the system and as an adult became an instructor at the Institution. Unfortunately, Braille’s method was not accepted by the sighted instructors and he died…

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Lines by Carol Ann Duffy

*I just can’t resist sharing this stirring bit of the poem Little Red Cap by Carol Ann Duffy*

I took an axe

to a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon

to see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf

as he slept, one chop…and saw

the glistening, virgin white of my grandmother’s bones.

I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up.

Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone.

It Begins

*Wishing my Darling Readers sweetness day by day, moment by moment, always!*

It begins.

A new year.

More promises to do better.

To be better.

To give more love more be more

But if I am

Here and now and always

With the Beloved One

Part of the Beloved One

Breathed by and breathing the Beloved One

Now is all there is.

Dreidel song

Dreidel Songby Joan Myles

*With Hanukkah beginning Sunday evening, you are probably busy chopping onions and potatoes for your famous latka recipe, and making sure you have enough candles for all 8 nights. Well, here’s a little song as you dole out gelt for a game or two or three of dreidel. Wishing you Sweetness and Light!**

Spin the dreidel gramma spin

Hebrew letters let us in

Nun and gimel

Hey and shin

Spin the dreidel round

Spin the dreidel mama please

Recollect the centuries

Pain or prayer

We bend our knees

And spin the dreidel round

Watch me spin the dreidel spin

each day of wonder to begin

With hope and blessing now as then

So spin the dreidel round

Winter Bird

Winter bird

by Joan Myles

darkness has a way of seeping

past layers of air and mist and rain

into the place of spirit’s keeping

to dull the heart and dim the brain

and I succumbed to woe and weeping

despite my habit to refrain

from morbid tentacles of creeping

dread and urges to complain

but wait I hear amid the deepening

fog and drear of daily pain

your lilting song of hope reopening

a world of brightness once again

A Dog Named Dignity

Okay, my new canine partner isn’t actually named Dignity. But she should be.

When I began my journey toward better mobility skills, I really didn’t associate mobility with dignity. Sure, being able to navigate around my neighborhood and elsewhere is tied up with my sense of independence. Of course my confidence would be boosted by strengthening my ability to use a white cane more efficiently. I would be able to go where I wanted to go without assistance from anyone. I would be able to interact with people, and pursue interests in a meaningful way to me. To me. Not based upon someone else’s level of interest, or time restraints, or measure of commitment.

But dignity? Isn’t dignity all about my value as a human being? How can independent travel possibly be intertwined with human dignity?

Since coming to know the history and practices of The Seeing Eye, I now understand.

In the same way that I am what I think, I am what I do. The places I go, the people I engage with, the activities I support and defend are all expressive of who I am.

And if I am not able to express those aspects of myself, if I cannot attend an event, or even leave my seat without help, I feel squashed. Or rather, unseen. Unrecognized as equally valued, as human.

But I didn’t learn all this from my white cane. Nobody cares if you bring a white cane into their car, or their house, or their place of worship. A white cane doesn’t shed or jingle during meetings, or take up space on the floor. A white cane can be folded up and put away, silent and uncomplaining.

But a guide dog is a living breathing being. A guide dog has personality and needs and, sorry folks, hair that sometimes wafts away from its body. A guide dog is also an extension of the human at the other end of the harness handle–in ways a white cane can never ever be.

These are the lessons I am learning from my beautiful new canine teammate, Aries. If you care about me, you will not focus on Aries. Yes, she’s gorgeous and talented and a bit of a flirt, but she has a job to do. A job for me, helping me get around with dignity and even a bit of grace. She is not in the room to make you smile. Or to keep your feet warm. She may do these things without your asking, but please do not ask. She is part of me. And if you respect me as a person, you will not grab me or my partner. If you wish to interact with me, don’t make eye contact with her. And if you want to spend time with me, accept her presence as part of the deal.

Because we are a team now. Aries and me. We were paired based on a mysterious mix of physical and emotional attributes according to The Seeing Eye’s 90 plus years of experience. And while we may still be forming our bond, we are off to a good start. Love and trust keep us together. Love and trust. The foundation of every meaningful relationship for partners living in dignity.