Q:

How would you describe a sunset to a blind person?

A:

A sunset can be described to a blind person in a variety of ways, emphasizing characteristics such as intensity, pitch, temperature, or contrast and using senses other than the visual. Blind people who previously had the ability to see will likely remember seeing color. Those who are legally blind may still have the capacity to make out faint images and colors. When in doubt, ask for their preferences.

Assuming no previous experience with visual input, descriptions involving sound, smell, touch, or taste are acceptable substitutes. Since every sunset is unique, consider the following questions:

What does a sunset sound like? Does it go from loud to quiet, or fast to slow tempo? Does it start on a high pitch and slowly transition into a low note? How might you accompany a sunset on an instrument, or is there an existing song that already sounds like a sunset? Try Edvard Grieg's "Sunset."

What does a sunset smell like? Does a sunset smell like a sandy beach or a rainstorm? Is it a spicy odor or a mellow one? How does the scent change over time? Visit a spice or fragrance shop to experiment.

What does a sunset feel like? Is a sunset hard or soft, hot or cold? Would a sunset be made out of wood or plastic, or of something softer like gelatin or water? Is there a movement or pulse associated with a sunset? Find inspiration in the kitchen.

What does a sunset taste like? Is the sunset more like a meat-and-potatoes dinner or like a sampling of delicately rolled sushi? What flavors emerge from a sunset? Is it salty or smoked, syrupy or caramelized? Is it like the three-course chewing gum from Ronald Dahl's book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"?


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