As I stand at the waters edge, feeling the soft warm sand underfoot, the sun against my face, listening to the rhythmic roar of the ocean as cool waves break against my skin, I can see color. How you might ask, can someone blind from birth see color? I try associating it with things that I can feel, hear, smell, or touch. The soft sand underfoot, the light feathery coolness of snowflakes against my lashes, or the breathtaking cold of a Minneapolis winter, is what I envision white to be.   Of course, there are many different shades of color, and many different things that, when I encounter them, remind me of a particular color. When I think of blue, several things come to mind. The roar of Cool Ocean waves breaking against the shore. And the sky on a perfect cloudless, summer day filled with possibility and promise. Green is the smell and feel of grass underfoot after rain, and the pungent aroma and prickles of an evergreen tree just waiting to be decorated for Christmas. Orange is the sweet tangy taste and lingering scent of the fruit, or a pumpkin ready to be carved or made into pie. Red is wood smoke, the hiss and crackling of firewood, and the heat and glow of warm dancing flames on a cold winter night. Pink is a cherry tree its boughs laden with blossoms in early spring. The sweet aftertaste of muscadine wine brings the color purple to my mind. When I see yellow, I feel the vibrant heat of the sun as it shines against my face, or taste the tartness of a freshly squeezed lemon. Low rumbles of thunder in the distance, or the peaceful fragrant silence of a star filled southern sky, may be what others see, when black comes to their minds. Though I may not see the way you see, color still has meaning for me.

 

Kayla Weathers is a student at Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia majoring in English Literature. She has been blind from birth due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. In high school, Weathers served as an officer in various organizations such as president of Beta, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and ELPACK, and secretary of Social Science, Key Club, the Georgia Association of Blind Students, and the senior class. The summer before her freshman year of college, she received a scholarship from the National Federation of the Blind. Her future plans include graduating from Dalton State College with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and then enrolling in a graduate program for teachers of blind students at Louisiana Tech University.

This work was published as one of the winners of our 2014 “Ways of Seeing” Contest.