Color Vision

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am blind. I wasn’t always totally blind though. As a child, up to around age twelve, I could see most colors. I could still see some very bright colors until I was eighteen.

When I asked the ophthalmologist at the university medical center to put me on the waiting list for cataract surgery in 2013, some color vision was all I hoped for. The doctor said that the best possible outcome was that I could have hand motion vision, ie. see someone’s hand move from one meter away. I didn’t really care about seeing anything one meter in front of me. If I’d have to hold a colored paper five centimeters in front of me to see its color, that was fine by me. I just wanted to be able to distinguish colors again. Unfortunately, though the surgery was at least a partial technical success, I never regained color perception.

When asked at the rehabilitation program for the blind what we’d be happiest about to regain if we ever regained our vision, most of my fellow clients mentioned some variation of independence. I, though, said that I’d be able to enjoy the colors of nature again. Unfortunately, though technology has come a long way, it will likely never be able to recreate an experience remotely similar to color vision.

I can still, fortunately, see some colors, but it’s in my mind’s eye. You see, I have projected grapheme-color synesthesia. When I touch the characters on my Braille display, they evoke a visual sensation of a color. Each letter corresponds to its own color, though some of the colors are very similar. That probably reflects the fact that I was never able to see the full variety of shades of colors that sighted people can. For example, the V and J are both a light shade of green. I can tell them apart if I see them both, in that the J is a slightly lighter, mintier shade, but it’s hard to describe.

Words also have an overarching color. In case you’re wondering, the colors of color words don’t always align with their meaning. For example, the word “Green” is more red (after the letter G) than green, even though both E’s are green.

I love my synesthetic color perception. It makes up for a loss of appreciation that no amount of technology can compensate for.

This post was inspired by CalmKate’s Friday Fun Challenge with the theme of “Colors”. I’m not really sure whether this rambling piece fits the idea of the challenge, but oh well.

Song Lyric Sunday: Black

Hi lovely people on this snowy Sunday. Today I initially wanted to continue with the #Write28Days prompts, but I guess I’ll try that back again tomorrow. The point is I’m still writing. Today, I’m joining Song Lyric Sunday, for which the theme this week is “Colors”. Now despite my attempts at changing it, black for sure still has to be my favorite color. Therefore, I’m choosing a song with “black” in the title. Now that I think of it, I of course could go with The Man in Black by Johnny Cash, as it’s far more meaningful than this one, but oh well, this one came to mind first.

I first heard the song Black Is the Colour a few months ago when I was listening to Cara Dillon songs. Turns out Cara Dillon’s is a cover. The song most likely originated in Scotland and was first known in the U.S. as an Appallachian traditional. Cara Dillon first recorded it in 2001. As you can see, she addresses it to a female. I originally thought this odd for a traditional, but it turns out both male and female artists have recorded this song in various ways, addressing both men and women.

Title: Black Is the Colour
Singer: Cara Dillon
Release Date: 2001

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like a rose so fair
She’s got the sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

I love my love and well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes
And how I whish the day would come
When she and I can be as one

I go to the Clyde and mourn and weep
Satisfied I never will sleep
I’ll write her a letter, just a few short lines
And suffer death ten thousand times