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Monday, 11 July 2011

Seeing in the dark

They say that if you are blind, all your other senses are heightened...
A good friend of mine had taken me to a restaurant for the evening on a recent trip to Berlin. This was no ordinary eatery however as I was soon to discover...
We sat expectantly in the dimly lit bar and ordered a drink. After perusing the menu (I am quite indecisive so it took a while), I settled on the 4 course Vegetarian surprise.
Within a minute I learnt that our waitress had long blonde hair, a smile to light up a room and was almost completely blind. Placing my hands on Sandy’s shoulders, we began our journey into the next room. Holding on for dear life, she speedily led us around the restaurant, filled with the sound of chattering diners and clinking cutlery (which occasionally fell with a crash to the floor). Once we were seated, off she trundled to bring us our first course...
And there we were, speechless, in the dark. This was all too uncomfortable for words. The one thing I trusted to show me my place in the world was gone and I could no longer rely on my sight. Finally, after an internal battle, I began to swim in the darkness. My awareness expanded to fill the space around me and I felt more alive and alert than I had done in a long, long time.
Over the course of our meal, we contemplated the meaning of life and everything in between...all in pitch blackness. It was beautiful.
Just as desert was finally demolished, Sandy sat down next to us and we chatted a while about what Berlin is like for her. I told her I would never look at my city with the same eyes again and I imagined her smiling broadly as I led us out (don’t even ask me how I did it).
Sometimes in life we find ourselves standing in darkness, unable to see what is truly around us. At times like this, all we need to do is close our eyes and wait. Seeing is not always about using our eyes. 

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