I've entered Grand Central Station with guide dog Corky, my yellow Labrador. We stand uncertain, man and dog collecting our wits while thousands of five o'clock communters jostle around us. Beside them, Corky and I are in slow motion, like two sea lions. We've suddenly found ourselves in the ocean, and here in this railway terminal, where pickpockets and knife artists roam the crowds, we're moving in a different tempo. There is something about us, the perfect poise of the dog, the uprightness of the man, I don't know, a spirit maybe, fresh as the gibbous moon, the moon we've waited for, the one with the new light.
So this is our railway station, a temple for Hermes. We wash through the immense vault with no idea about how to find our train or the information kiosk. And just now it doesn't matter. None of the turmoil of anxiety of being lost will reach us because moving is holy, the very motion is a breeze from Jerusalem.
This blindness of mine still allows me to see colors and shapes that seem windblown; the great terminal is supremely lovely in its swaying hemlock darknesses and sudden pools of rose-colored electric light. We don't know where we are, and though the world is dangerous, it's also haunting in its beauty. Even to a lost man with a speck of something like seeing, this minute here, just standing, taking in the air as a living circus, this is what tears of joy are for.
A railway employee has offered to guide me to my train. I hold his elbow gently, Corky heeling beside us, and we descend through the tunnels under the building. I've decided to trust a stranger.
Welcome to the planet of the blind.
Steve Kuusisto is Director of the Renee Crown Honors Program at Syracuse University where he is also a "University Professor" in Disability Studies. He has taught creative writing at The Ohio State University and The University of Iowa. His memoir Planet of the Blind was named a New York Times Notable Book and he is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir and Do Not Interrupt, a book-length essay on the art of conversation. He is a poet with Copper Canyon Press and a member of Pacific University's MFA faculty in creative nonfiction.