If your vision is unimpaired, be grateful. But also be aware that people with impaired vision have powerful ways of perceiving the world around them without sight … something Oliver Sachs (Awakenings) explores in his 2010 book, The Mind’s Eye. One blind person he profiles in the book, John Hull, describes how rain can create a vivid picture of the outdoor landscape through sound alone:

Rain has a way of bringing out the contours of everything; it throws a coloured blanket over previously invisible things; instead of an intermittent and thus fragmented world, the steadily falling rain creates continuity of acoustic experience … presents the fullness of an entire situation all at once … gives a sense of perspective and of the actual relationship of one part of the world to another.

The next time it rains where you are, close your eyes and try to picture the world with Hull’s approach.

Don’t try this one, though: Sachs also recounts the story of Federico, a 15th-century duke “who had lost one eye in a tournament. Fearing the ever-present threat of assassination and wanting to preserve his prowess on the battlefield, he had his surgeons amputate the bridge of his nose to allow a wider field for the remaining eye.”

Update (05/13/11): With significant rain falling for the first time in weeks (months?) today, I tried a little rain visioning, and it was an intriguing exercise to listen to the different sounds the falling drops made and try to picture what they were falling on. I would have tried it longer, but my dog decided he couldn’t stand getting any wetter and tugged me toward the door.