Blink Selectively

For the past few days I literally have had a house full of people and dogs. My house is tiny — barely 1000 square feet — but divided up OK to have three bedrooms. The back room, my studio-like-thing, is literally filled with a queen size inflatable bed. My other room has it’s usual double bed and a twin fold out on the floor.

For a person who lives alone, to have suddenly a house FULL was interesting, and, at first a little (little?) stressful. How would it work? Somehow, it did and we had a great time.

Yesterday the couple who was visiting left, and my friend L and her developmentally disabled son and I decided to check out the Sand Dunes Pool, a hot springs swimming pool near Sand Dunes National Park. It was a glorious day. The pool is on a rise overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The water was perfect, and while I’m not much of a water person (I thought) it came back to me. I do know how to swim.

But back to “fleeting.” There was a man in his late 40s, early 50s, with a blind son? brother? I watched them arrive, I watched them come out of the dressing room and I watched them get into the pool. I watched the look of surprise and delight on the face of the blind man, and I saw joy on his brother’s face. There is a big pipe that shoots warm water into the air and comes down like a warm waterfall into the pool, and the brother took the blind man over to feel that. I was standing in it at that moment and just waited to see how the blind man would react. His reaction was fear and delight and he screamed. It was disturbing and beautiful at the same time.

I kept swimming and then got out, sitting on a south facing bench, watching everyone. At one point the brother of the blind man was in front of me and the blind man came walking by, his left foot touching the edge rim of the pool. When his brother called out, he almost went sideways into the water. “No, no, no, keep going and come down the stairs!” Ahead about 10 feet were steps and railing going into the shallow end. I wanted to stand up and help him, but I suddenly became aware that the point of his being there was to learn he could be there. His family was trying to help him “see” that. The brother looked up at me almost as if he were confirming my perception. I nodded. The blind man kept walking and found the railing and the steps and returned to the pool safely.

The moment was over. The business of being at a pool proceeded in the normal way, getting out, waiting for a shower, showering, dressing, leaving. As we walked out, the blind man and his brother were sitting on a bench. As we passed them, I said, “You guys have a beautiful rest of the day.”

“Thank you. You too. God bless you.”


If you’re ever in Colorado and want to swim in this marvelous place, here’s how to find it.


3 thoughts on “Blink Selectively

  1. One of the experiences in life that we never really forget. They leave an imprint. My oldest son is autistic, but in water he was a fish. No fears, just swim. His first swim in the sea was without fear. The only fear was the one I had when he was eventually just a dot on the horizon.

    • You’re so right — everything about the pool, the place, my friends was already magical, watching her developmentally disabled son fail consistently to do a cannonball off the diving board, but then the blind guy. Wow. You’ll meet my friend; she’s coming to CH with me 🙂

  2. Such a lovely story. I imagine seeing the blind working on challenges gives one pause to reflect on life and how fortunate most of us are. (I don’t think that sentence came out right).

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