Image by ZacharyTirrell via FlickrBen Underwood died at age 16, buried on Jan 26th, what would have been his 17th birthday. Ben was the initial inspiration for this blog and opened my eyes, so to speak, to a whole new way of realizing the senses.
As a small child Ben was blinded by Retinoblastoma, a cancer in the eyes. But his total lack of vision did not prevent him from doing anything he enjoyed. He still had no fears of taking up biking, rollerblading, basketball, and he lived his life as any other kid would, and did not allow himself to by "handicapped" by his situation. He learned as a child that he could hear reflections of sounds that bounced off of surrounding objects. He devised a certain "click" that he could make to interpret the objects around him. He was full of ambition and made it his life's work to perfect these techniques. Many blind people have begun to use echolocation, but Ben's talent was remarkable and he was the only person (as far as I know) who could distinguish the difference between objects as small as a stapler and a coffee mug on the table.
As I said, Ben Underwood inspired this blog and I will continue it, not only as a means to capture my meandering experience, but also as a thank you and tribute to him.
Thank you for your inspiration Ben, and your contributions to mankind. They will live on forever.
If you would like to leave a message or give a donation to Ben's family, you can do so at his website: http://www.benunderwood.com