Yesterday was a tough day for travel – for everyone but especially for people with low vision. There was so much snow everywhere that street, sidewalk, and grassy areas all blended together into a blanket of white. I had a hard time walking to the bus stop. It was early and people had not cleared their sidewalks yet. I trudged through the snow for a little while, then gave up and walked in the street. Traffic had made a little more of a path in the street, but I felt a little unsafe walking in the street in the dark. I was relieved when I made it to the stop and onto the bus. From the bus stop to work was a challenge. It was so hard to tell where the sidewalk went, where the curbs were, and I had to climb over little mounds of snow to get into the crosswalks. At one point, I reached a place where the sidewalk had been nicely plowed, but that ended abruptly and left a big snowpile to climb over. By the time I arrived at work, my eyes were tired from trying to pick a path through the snow, my boots were full of snow, and I was freezing. I was so happy to walk through the front door at work and into the warmth.
I barely had time to warm up before it was time for a training appointment with Kasey, my Mobility Instructor. He really wanted to work on safe outdoor travel, since we had a perfect snowy day for practice. I did not want to go back outside, but I decided that I would rather learn some outdoor tips than practice with a cane. Anything is better than holding that cane in my hand.
So, I bundled up and Kasey and I headed out. The sidewalk in front of ABVI-Goodwill was spotless, every bit of snow had been removed. It was so wonderful to have a clear surface. Of course, this is not where Kasey wanted us to walk. We went beyond the ABVI-Goodwill campus and back onto snow-covered sidewalks. He gave me some tips about knowing where the sidewalk is, even when I can’t clearly see the path. At one point, I got really confused. I misjudged where the sidewalk was and thought Kasey was taking us the wrong way. It seemed to me that he was making us walk too close to the road. It was a strange and bad feeling to walk in what I thought was the wrong place. The snow was deep and I couldn’t make my mind believe we were still on the sidewalk. Of course, Kasey was right and we were on the sidewalk. I couldn’t shake the confused feeling, and I started to feel really bad about my navigating skills. After this little setback, though, the rest of the training went fine and I gained back some confidence and soon I was back inside where it was warm.
Snow travel is not easy. In the white, everything blends together and it’s hard to tell where I am supposed to walk. Luckily, I am learning some good safety tips and, with a little practice, I will get better at finding my way.