I have always loved walking in the woods. I usually explore with my husband or daughter to act as a sighted guide. They find flora for me to touch.
When I had some vision, they would point out fauna — a deer, or a bird taking flight. At those times, I was lucky to see the white of a retreating deer or hear the sound of wings in flight.
When I became totally blind, I developed my senses of touch, hearing, smell and taste to see the world.
I incorporated visual memories to complete the picture.
After two hip replacements, I could no longer walk the woods I loved. My husband and I became a tandem cycling team. This allowed me to experience nature in a different way.
I wrote this chapbook of poems after I lost my sight. I found there are many ways to enjoy nature, such as using your hands to explore, along with your other senses.
Rain distorts the reflection in the pane.
I contemplate my twisted hold on reality.
Memory of the visual world changes with age,
reforming like a deck of shuffled cards.
The rain forms tears from heaven.
They water our souls and spirits.
I take a card to see what memory is on top.
Building a story around the thought.
That story is my new reality.
The cover photo is of a smiling two-year-old girl, the author's daughter. She has black hair and light skin, and she's playing in a big pile of brown oak leaves. Only her head, one sneaker, and one sleeve are visible. This same photo appears on page 20 of the book. It starts the fall section of the book.
The cover of the book has a warm beige background. Above the cover photo, described above, the title letters are in dark green. Below the photo, the author's name is in smaller brown letters.
Before the Introduction, on page 8, is a close-up of an upturned left hand cradling some pale, delicate flowers. More pale flowers and dark green leaves surround the hand.
The photo for the summer section appears on page 10 and is captioned "Burnt Over." It goes with the poem of the same name on page 16. The photo is of a scarred section of forest. There are burnt stumps of trees in the background. In the foreground, we see small pine trees and wild flowers growing from the burnt forest floor.
The photo for the winter section, captioned "Sugar Snow," appears on page 28. It shows a snow-laden arbor, seats, and woods, with the snow glowing in the winter moonlight. This photo goes with the poem of the same name on page 31.
The spring section begins on page 35. The photo for this section is on page 39. Captioned "Sugar Bush," it shows the author in the woods, making maple syrup. She is testing the boiling sap with a large ladle to see if the sap is done. She is smiling. The poem "Sugar Bush," on page 38, goes with this photo.
At the end of the book, on page 44, there is a photo of the author and her husband, John, wearing helmets and yellow bike shirts. They are smiling and standing beside their tandem bicycle. The author is leaning her head against her husband's left shoulder.
The back cover photo is a head and shoulder shot of the author, facing forward. She is wearing a white turtleneck shirt, a bright red sweater, and glasses. She has salt and pepper hair and is smiling.
Carol has worn many hats: speech pathologist, musician, dancer, actress, artist, and traveler. Now she has turned her hand to writing. Carol and her husband, John, have lived in a small town in western lower Michigan for the past 30 years. They have one married daughter and three grandkitties.
Carol started to write essays and poems in 2018 to tell about the lite side of blindness. Her blog, https://blindontheliteside.com/, puts a humorous spin on living with blindness. While she has experienced a gradual loss of sight all her life, Carol still sees the laughter and joy in living.
Her writing has appeared in Avocet, Plum Tree Tavern, Magnets and Ladders, Breath and Shadow, Spirit Fire Review, and The Handy, Uncapped Pen. She is a regular contributor to The Blind Perspective and Newsreel audio magazine.
In addition to tandem bicycling with her husband, Carol enjoys creating felted art animals, cooking, and working in her container garden.