Here in Canada and many other places winter is upon us. It is this time of year that I am reminded of how much my independence relies of the generosity of strangers to shovel the snow.
Being blind many people think is such a barrier to me living the life that I want and that my life must be so hard and awful because I am blind. However my life is just like anyone else’s, I have to do things differently in some cases but I work, I am a mom, sister, daughter, and so much more just like you are.
I love winter it is a beautiful season, I love the sports that come along with winter as well. I am itching to get to the ski hill if we are being honest and strapping on my snowboard. As much as I love winter, it can also be a challenge.
When I travel with my guide dog or my cane I am relying on the built environment around me to give me clues and landmarks to tell me where I am and that I am on the right track to where I am going. If I feel grass under my feet then I know I have veered from the sidewalk. Or I feel the dip in the side walk and the tactile cuts in the curb, I know I am at the intersection. There are many things that I use to help me navigate independently.
However, when the snow starts to fly, as beautiful it is it also covers up the built environment and erases everything tactile that I use to navigate. It can make is really stressful to get around and to be independent.
I am not someone who wants to sit around and not be able to go out because there is no one around to come with me. And I am not alone in this in the blind community. There are so many blind individuals who are fiercely independent.
When I walk around my neighbourhood and people take the time to shovel the sidewalk in front of their home, I am so grateful. It means that I can enjoy my walk and relax just a little bit.
A shovel can give some individuals the ability to go out and enjoy a walk or get groceries independently. When I was a cane user I was not able to travel alone in many cases because the snow and unshoveled sidewalks made my world too inaccessible.
If you take the few minutes to shovel your sidewalk in front of your home it will mean that someone who is blind or partially sighted is able to get out of their home more easily and be more independent. It helps so many and is always very much appreciated.
Imagine how that would impact your daily life if you needed to rely on the hearts of strangers to run your errands or enjoy a walk independently.
If you want to check out how Danson and I are able to navigate this weather check out my latest video on my YouTube channel https://youtu.be/YwygEegRfIY
Until Next Time,
Ashley and Danson