Today is another beautiful one in Spokane. The sun is shining, it’s about 50 degrees F and many many people are outside.

I was driving with Jen, my sister from Ghana, and we saw a man walking very deliberately on the crosswalk ahead of us. I realized that he was blind when he reached the opposing sidewalk.

I am writing about him because I was so incredibly impressed during the minute or so we sat at that corner waiting for the light to turn. He walked to the light post to push the crosswalk button and used his stick to feel out his surroundings. There was a couple already standing on the corner, and he had a difficult time working out what they were before they spoke to him. It seemed like he was a little thrown off, and had to go back to the post to figure out which way was which, where the ramp to the street was, and so on. He went back to what he could recognize, thinking hard. Light post, curb on this side, curb on that side. He was obviously taking every sound seriously. Cars this way, cars that way. Movement here and there. Back from the curb farther — a safe perch for analysis. He was working hard, but he was figuring it out.

For some reason I can’t quite identify, I was deeply moved. Maybe it’s because I know the feeling of being a little thrown off, lacking critical information but needing to figure it out. I too know the feeling of needing to go back to the basics — what do I know — to figure it out. I hope in those situations I handle myself with some fraction of the poise I observed in that man today.