Sight Unseen

January 8, 2003

The things that are most precious to us, our five senses, are things we very often take for granted. They are gifts whose ever-present status means we fail to notice, and perhaps appreciate, them in the same way we notice the novel and infrequent. Our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch are our keys to the world. Without one, we would miss one fifth of living.

That said, think of what life would be like without one of those senses. Think of what life is like for those millions who cannot see, hear, taste, smell, or touch, and who may never have, and consider this: If you were able to lend one of your five senses to a person born without, which one would you give? What would you forgo so another could experience?

That question is almost too easy for me to answer. I would lend my sight. I am sight-impaired, and wish my vision were far better than it is, but if I could lend my vision (little as it is) to someone without, I would do so without hesitation.

I would want this person to be able to see simple things like the sky, and the sun, and what the food they are eating looks like. I would want them to be able to know what a smile looks like, and what joy there is in reading the printed word, but most of all I would want them to be able to experience colour.

There is no real way for me to describe how I feel about colour except to say that I am in love with it, and I cannot imagine life without it. I would want this person to understand blood red, ice blue, and forest green, the colour of a blush, the colours of changing autumn leaves, and to see all these things reflected in glass and mirrors.

No, I change my mind, colour is not the thing I’d most want them to see. What I would really want them to be able to do is look in a mirror and see themselves, to see their own face shining back at them.

When I am asked what I would want if one wish were granted me, my first reaction is to ask for perfect vision, even if it is only for just a few minutes. I want to understand the world the way a person with 20/20 vision understands it. I want to be able to move around and do things that most of the population takes for granted – read fine print, drive a car, watch TV from across the room instead of being sat right in front of it.

Would it be a tease to have such a gift only to have it taken away again? Would it hurt too much to lose something so precious? Most definitely, but I think it’s a price worth paying in order to have the wonders of context being able to see things would give.

The question courtesy of: The If Project, a monthly web-based writing project. (SEE:

Lonita has been an AU student since early 2002, and is studying towards a Bachelor of General Studies in Arts & Science. She enjoys writing, creating websites, drinks far too much tea, and lives in hopes of one day owning a plaid Cthulhu doll. The most exciting thing she’s done so far in her lifetime, is driven an F2000 racecar, and she’s still trying to figure out how to top that experience. Her personal website can be found at and what you can’t find out about her through that, you can ask her via email:

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