Today I am thankful for floods, families, gazebo lights, nieces, new beginnings, bridges, grace, pianos, blue jays, breath, poetry, sacraments, and the ability to be open, honest, and authentic with the people I love most. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I’m pretty sure Instagram is a thing because of the Pacific Northwest. However, with all these snaps - not a single one of you has captured Bigfoot? Image @bdorts #ironandair #PNW (at Tag your adventures #ironandair)

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Here’s, I guess, Part Two of My previous post in color. It’s the freakin Columbia River Gorge and it’s totally gorge(ous). Pun very clearly intended, despite how bad it was. Here’s pictures… what do you want… if you’ve been, you know and if you haven’t been, there’s nothing I can type which will convince you to go more than the pictures. No matter what, you need this in your life.

This is Jim. I never saw what Jim looks like, because I met him in the complete dark. Jim doesn’t know what I look like because Jim is blind.

We met at an event put on by The Blind Cafe (www.theblindcafe.com). In short, The Blind Cafe hosts dinner events in the complete, 100% dark. You can’t see your food. You can’t see the people around you. You can’t see the musicians sharing their beautiful music with everyone. And you certainly can’t find your way to the bathroom on your own, which presents a problem when you’re dining in the dark for nearly three hours. 

Jim, who is legally blind, led me to the bathroom, teaching me how to place my hand on his bent elbow for the most mobility and flexibility for us both. We went up the stairs slowly and he gave me his cane and showed me the distinct sound of the cane against porcelain. He closed the stall door and left me in privacy until I needed his assistance again to find my way to the sink and then back to my table. 

It was vulnerable, having to ask for help to go about a private matter. And in this short time, I felt like I was able to empathize in some small way what it is like to experience the world with a disability. 

When we arrived back at my seat, I asked Jim if I could give him a hug. I put my arms around him and thanked him for his kind and patient help.

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My entire experience at The Blind Cafe was moving, fun, and challenging in the best way. 

I wanted to share it here, because the spirit of what they do aligns so well with the thinking behind Humans of Portland. In part, The Blind Cafe’s mission is “to initiate ‘positive social change’… We seek to …educate patrons (both younger and older generations, people of difference race, class, gender and / to disabilities) about blindness, the value of active listening in community settings, active listening in the arts, developing compassion and valuing community members of other disabilities, gender difference or racial backgrounds, to relate to one another with a deep sense of compassion and openness to listen and understand people who are different than them.”

If you have the opportunity to go to one of their events, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Looks like they’ll be back in February!!http://www.theblindcafe.com/pdx/