The Buried Fear
June 1, 2015
The human brain is hard-wired
To see the different against the known,
The known patterns of our lives
And to distrust that different regardless
Of where in the world it’s grown.
This is a primal, animal response
More suited to our distant forebears
Who lived in jungles or savage savannahs
Where seeing, hearing, feeling a threat
Was pre-saged in a foreshadowed affair.
Apex predators are all alike, they say,
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”
Sharks and Orcas and Crocodiles
But one could argue the most successful
Are the ones who look most like us, no lie!
Today, in sub and urban towns,
A hallmark difference could just be
Something as harmless as garb, skincolor or curly hair
Accented voices or accented food choices
Or, oddly, how one chooses to leave.
But I maintain the most insidious and
Non-conscious response is to what cannot be seen
How the visually impaired and blind must feel
Not having or losing that powerful sense
A survival perception, held in highest esteem.
Sighted people are not aware of how dependent they are
On those two orbs and the occipital lobe,
Using twenty-five percent of the brain’s wattage
To place one in space, to keep one’s balance,
To assess the color tinting of one’s robe.
Hard to imagine a bigger threat than not seeing
The predator, the bike, the car or the priggish walker
Staring at his eye phone instead of where he goes
Walking fast in your direction, in your path,
Neither of you aware of the watching stalker.
Of course, there are the blind or visually impaired
Who expect the clouds, the seas and the crowd
To part before them as if entitled to unconfronted space.
Ain’t it a shame, ain’t it a shame. I wonder who’s to blame.
“Oh, poor me,” with self-bigotry cry they outloud.
Most, however, don’t want your pity,
Just want you to understand
How it is that YOU relate to your buried fears
Around this different ability to see ahead,
To make the twists and turns on uneven land.
It’s just survival as they say, humans will always find a way
Thick glasses, or white cane, a dog who knows
His eyes, ears and nose are better than yours
Who leads without taking the lead from you
Allowing your brain to adapt and grow.