Monday, February 27, 2012

Birds, Books, Martyrs, and Knitting Looms

No human and no bird lives forever. I've noticed that over the last few days the birds haven't been eating much clean seed. Tonight I did the dreaded task and ran my hand over the cage floor, looking for downed, dead birds. One of them just trundled slowly away from my hand. A healthy bird would have shrieked and zoomed up onto a perch. Not wanting to cause the bird more fear than I had already, I withdrew my hand. I think the bird was Rose Bug, a "Rosy Rump Waxbill" being eaten alive by Zebra finches at the pet store when we got her in 2007. They sold her to us at a ridiculously low price, on the condition that if she died we Wouldn't bring her back and ask for our money to be returned.

I am not wise enough to know how birds think or feel. But before our female canary, Fuzhead died, she lost her sight. She only could track Ann's hand in a very narrow range, right in front of her face. When she got lost in the cage she would call and OJ, our male canary would answer her and guide her with his voice back to a perch.

Today a friend told me that Rose Bug and OJ were both grubbing around slowly on the cage floor for seeds. I don't know if both are sick or if OJ might be keeping Rose Bug company.

I have read a truly wonderful book. It is "Islam and World Peace" I cannot read the author's name and don't want to make a Mess of it as I would by trying to spell it with my limited hearing. The Cherokee healer who helped me survive two rounds of cancer surgeries and chemotherapy worked for the military and met many Sufi Muslims he admired and learned from while in Europe. His conversations with me got me interested in Sufi Islam. This book is an explanation of Sufi Islam and it was so full of love, kindness, and often forgotten reasonableness, such as "clean up your own faults instead of judging those of others" that I intend to keep it and reread it from time to time.

Tonight I listened via the public radio station out of Springfield, Mo. to an production of "State Under Siege" about Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement, specifically the mid-1950's to the mid-1960's. And I thought that the people I would consider Gihadis, Martyrs were those like Medgar Evers, who knew he would probably be killed but still nonviolently stood up for equal rights for African Americans. I remember seeing those news reports growing up and hearing comments I won't repeat from my grandparents. I remember discussing Civil Rights with my father when he came to visit me at blind school. He was for civil rights, and afraid that African Americans would be put ahead of people like himself, relatively poor white, underpayed working people. We didn't agree. I had the good fortune to live with African American girls as room mates, and to see how they were treated badly by some school employees because they Were African Americans.

Last week I thought I would add to my ability to make doll clothing by learning to knit on a knitting loom. About twenty years ago, when I cold still hear well enough to work with and teach newly blind clients, I was taught to knit (with needles) by a blind fellow teacher, and I taught myself to crochet, with the aid of a Braille instruction book. But at that time the only reason I did it was so women losing their vision couldn't tell me they had to give it up since they couldn't see. I figured if I could learn it totally blind then I Should be able to encourage Them. But I had a lot to do and once I lost that job I stopped doing both knitting and crocheting. I still have a decent sample of decent knitting that I did back then, but can't remember how. So I bought a knitting loom. I struggled with it Friday, with the help of a friend who took video instructions from You-tube and relayed them into speech and demonstrations. I tried all weekend, looking up differing online instructions, hours and hours! And again today. Then I sent the set back, glad that I had kept the receipt. Not everyone is meant to do everything!

When you are struggling as hard as you can to hear instructions to do a new task, you are working in too small an area for four hands, (the instructor's and mine) and you cannot see what the instructor is doing, it is Extremely depressing and Frustrating! That was part of Ben's problem in school. I don't know what has happened to that family, they have vanished from the listserv and it is hard not to fear the worst. Their son made the Honor Role, but . . .

I still have the Braille instruction book from which I learned to crochet and my old hook. It is wood and I love the smooth worn feel of it. So I should be able to relearn That skill anyway.

I wonder if has documentaries concerning Native Americans too. It wasn't until 1956 that Native people in Arizona, (the year I was born) were declared U.S. citizens and the Homa or Houma Native children of Louisiana weren't allowed into white public schools until 1965. I wonder if they went to black schools or were educated at home or what. Might check it out.

I Love books. When I was working my extra money went into putting print books into Braille. There is a National Braille Association which did this (and still does) for less than cost. I had the Crochet book put into Braille, after a blind friend recommended it to me. Got a couple of instructional Cherokee language books put into Braille, "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" by J. R. R. Tolkein, "A Gathering of Spirit: Writing and Art by Native American Women" edited by Beth Brant, a basketry handbook, "The Way of Herbs" by Michael Tierra, at ten cents per Braille page, with Braille running about three pagges to each print page, that's where My money went.

After reading "Roots" I wanted to know where those African countries were. Our maps at blind school had countries which no longer exist, like Dahomey and Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia. So Bless the Princeton Braillists, due to their excelent and hard work and low prices I treated myself to maps of Africa in raised markings. They do a Wonderful job!

No comments:

Post a Comment