Now legally blind, Amy teaches us a beautiful life lesson ...
When given conscious attention, what may seem mundane, what you may consider unremarkable, will provide your most treasured memories and exquisite gifts in life.
This year I turned sixty, Indian summer arrived, and the sun glistened off the leaves. Being legally blind, I compensated by using blue-tinted recycling bags. The contrast helped me to see them better. I also found my father’s giant-toothed rake.
Bundled up in a thick hoodie, I set to work raking. After an hour, I threw off my jacket, pushed up my sleeves, and let the warmth steal over me as I scooted across our backyard. Although I missed many of the leaves, I didn’t stress.
With every sweep of the rake, I unearthed pleasant memories.
My Dad’s face, with his smile, invited me to jump into a pile of leaves. I recalled how he stepped back in his dress shoes and waved to the mound with his rake. His cap was askew, his grey trousers grass-stained.
A dried stalk of grass took me back to my tenth birthday. Dad had put together a hayride. Mom and I sent out invitations to my class. That afternoon, Dad attached his tractor to a gray steel wagon filled with hay. Off we went through town, breathing in the sweet fodder. We had cake and cider when we returned and bobbed for apples. As the sun shone on the rich colors beneath my feet, I could almost smell those long-ago apples.
The breeze twirled some of the leaves, reminding me of another vivid memory – when I came home to heal from the death of my twins and eventual divorce. I saw a tree filled with yellowish, golden leaves. It looked like a turn-of-the-century ballroom dancer. She had a full skirt and bent into the wind as if holding a parasol. The rounded golden carpet beneath her dress transfixed me. When my Dad joined me, I pointed it out, and he cocked his head as if seeing what I saw. He smiled and gave me the thumbs-up sign. That was twenty years ago now.
I leaned another bag against the garage, recalling the last time I saw him rake leaves. He wore his brown corduroy jacket, tweed cap, and work gloves. He had on blue jeans instead of trousers. Gone were the dress shoes. Dad used a wheelbarrow, his bad knees slowing him down. When he reached his wagon, he lowered the back and steered the cart up onto it, guiding the most stubborn leaves out with his hands.
Tears dripped down my cheeks. I wiped them away and set the seventh bag down by the garage.
With Dad gone, Mom took up the duty with me. I did the raking, and she held the bags open. I laughed, remembering her expression when I missed the bag and tossed the leaves onto her. Mom shook a finger at me, her smile real, face softened and patient. Hair smashed flat with a bright yellow knitted cap, she wore an old jacket of Dad’s, and the edge of her long johns showed beneath her pants legs.
When Mom could no longer hold the bags, she watched me out the front window, tapping on the glass pane. She smiled and made a fist as if she thought I was strong. She always thanked me for “cleaning the leaves.” I loved it – my exquisite gift to her.
What a privilege to carry on the tradition of gathering up our leaves! At sixty, I felt like a college student with boundless energy. Even though I couldn’t see the leaves clearly, I bundled the bags and tied them off, feeling connected to my parents. In less than an hour, I finished. In all, I had eighteen bags!
Being blind didn’t hamper me a bit. At sixty, I feel capable, independent, and accomplished. That God has given me such unstoppable vigor fills me with joy. I want others to experience the same confidence in whatever they choose to do.
Looking past sight loss is a gift we can give ourselves again and again.
Meet Amy Bovaird ...
Amy Bovaird is a ghostwriter, an author of two bestselling memoirs, a powerful faith meditations memoir, and two shorter eBooks. She is the recipient of the “Distinguished Medal of Literature” by Ohio Valley University for her first memoir, Mobility Matters.
She is a former ESL instructor, world traveler, and inspirational speaker who peppers her talks with faith, humor, and culture. She also happens to be legally blind and losing her hearing. But she advocates living your best life, one rich in gratitude. Amy now lives in northwest Pennsylvania in the same house where she grew up.
Read Amy's Memoir
Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith
WEBSITE in REG & LP:
Amazon in KINDLE, REG & LP:
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My dear Amy, you are such an inspiration! I can totally relate to the memories of raking the Fall leaves because every time I touch a leaf, I see a story beyond my own memories. Thank you for sharing your journey! Many blessings to you, beautiful soul!
Thank you for the uplifting story. You are a true inspiration. It’s wonderful to be able to find the joy in memories and everyday activities.
This is such an inspiring share! We have to find keep searching for joy and happiness.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my story and optimism. And the gift of looking past sight to elements that give us joy.
Dear Amy … It’s been my honour. I hope to connect with you again soon. Love Karletta
Inspiring story. The raking if the leaves reminds me of the many seasons in our lives.
I like how you put that, “the many seasons of our lives.” That’s true and I didn’t think of that when I was writing it. I’m so glad you pointed that out. It’s a neat thought! Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.
With Love and gratitude,
What an inspiring story! And you write so beautifully and eloquently
Dear Digital Day Book,
Thank you so much for taking time to comment with those kind words and appreciating my memories and life lesson.
This is beautiful! I can’t even imagine and here the writer is reminiscing memories and fondly embracing positivity! So much I can learn
Thank you so much! We all learn from each other, and winter is a wonderful warm time to reminisce.
Wow I can not even imagine this, you are so strong. I do appreciate that your vivid memories are now your visions. As a very visual person I gather comfort in that.
Thank you. Wow, I think that statement is really neat. “Your vivid memories are now your visions.” They are, not wholly, but definitely more than they used to be.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my experience.
Any is such an inspiration and I love her sense of humor when approaching and describing life challenges
You are the one who inspired this post. You told me to write about it, so I’m really grateful for that little push. Yes, my humor hovers over me, and cuts in front of most of the time. And thank goodness it does! Thanks for taking time to read this and comment!
This and your life story is so incredibly inspiring. You have given me and o 4th her readers a reminder that we need to be grateful for whatever we have and accept life with its imperfections. Thanks a lot for that wonderful story.
Thank YOU for taking time to read my story and leave a comment! We do have to be thankful. Life brings challenges to us all and we have to step into imperfection and gather all the leaves (blessings) we can. Even though we miss lots, we gather more than we would have if had never tried to catch them beautiful. scent and experience.
I loved the word pictures Amy painted. Because I do know Amy and also because my closest friend is blind, this piece was especially dear to me. Thank you for the inspiring words to be thankful for what we have.
Thank you for your lovely comment, Carol! Yes, being grateful for the things we can do and enjoying ourselves along with our rich memoires carries a special joy. Amy
Amy, I can actually smell your Dad’s pipe. So proud to be able to identify be with so many of your memories. Being a part of the Bovaird brand of childhood was a true blessing. You were our little pesty sister and now us old gals look to you for wisdom and your unending gift with words. I have no doubt God has given you, your way of telling your story, to take up the slack of your loss of eyesight. Love your inspirational words.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking time to read this — and comment! Yes, you are such a big part of our growing up years. And Dad was always doing fun things — fixing the boat, taking Carolyn out on the boat for her 16th birthday with all you guys, the amazing tree house and slide (which we don’t even have a photo of today!). What vivid memories! Yeah, I was that pesty sister for sure! You are so sweet! I think you’re right. It does take up the slack of not seeing well. I can see things so clearly in my mind.
What an Inspiration Amy is! Her gratitude, appreciation and compassionate nature enables her to live a fulfilled, Fruitful Life that is a wonderful Lesson to all.
Thank you for your lovely words. What a great word “fruitful” is. I do want to live a fruitful life, and it is rich in gratitude. I so appreciate you taking time to read my story. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it.
Exciting and touching to the point of being immersed in what I reading. Really great strengh and beauty!
Oooh, thank you! I’m so glad you were immersed in my story as simple act of raking brought back memories of my parents. Elements of beauty can be anywhere when we look with gratitude.
I loved this! So heartfelt. I could see myself here with you, in this moment, raking the leaves and enjoying sweet memories. Just beautiful!
Thank you! Such a wonderful delight when someone else can picture themselves in the moment. The sharing of emotions and memories is such a basic need and, it forges a connection even online. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with me.