Swimming in the bay, just off the sandy shore near my apartment in Long Beach, California, I saw a tiny black line, caused by a retinal hemorrhage in my right eye. During the many hospital stays and doctors’ appointments that followed, I tried to prepare myself for a life in permanent darkness. Since I’d been afraid of the dark as a child, I worried that the old terror would grip me again. So when the inevitable happened, and I lost all sight, all light perception, I was surprised and gratified to discover that blindness is not synonymous with blackness, will Shakespeare and other poets notwithstanding. Instead, blindness is mist, possibly fog, although fog suggests something heavier and more substantial than what I see.
So for the past forty years, I’ve been living in a grayish mist, day or night, eyes open or closed. And I have to think it’s apt that as I “gray,” a secret shared only with my hair stylist and color expert, I live in gray. And I think there’s something to be said for living in the gray, full of “on-the-one hands” and “On-the-other hands,” especially today. Are more and more of us clinging harder to our positions, painting the important issues before us in blacks and whites?