Practicing With my Cane

As part of my preparation for my new job, I decided I should once again get comfortable using my cane. Obviously, I much prefer going places with Ufi, but there may be times when it would make more sense for him to stay home. Also, there may come a time when he is sick. And, of course, he will eventually retire. Given all of those possibilities, I want to make sure I’m ready to do what I need to do without Ufi.

I used a cane all the way through college. When Ivor, my first guide, got too sick to work, I returned to the cane and used it for about four years. Still, I was a bit nervous about using my cane to cross busy streets. Specifically, I was concerned about crossing Stark. Stark is a busy, fairly wide street I must cross to get to the train station near my house. Even though it has an audible pedestrian signal, I was wondering how I would do.

The other day, I had a mobility lesson (classes that teach blind people to travel with canes or dog guides). Leaving home with my instructor close behind, I found myself feeling totally relaxed. Using my cane felt much more normal than I was expecting.

Waiting to cross Stark, I found myself surprised by the feeling that I wasn’t going to have any trouble. When the audible pedestrian signal started chiming, I listened to the stopped cars for a second before starting across the street. A few steps into my crossing, I realized I was focussing on the sound emanating from the pole on the other side of the street. Using that sound as a guide, just like I used to do, I had no difficulty getting across.

By the time I made it home, I was thrilled by how well I had done. At this point, I’m not at all worried about using my cane. I’ll never enjoy cane travel the way I enjoy going places with Ufi, but I’m glad I still have the ability to use my cane when using it makes sense.


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