A while back I found myself reflecting on how it would be to have to see the world only from the driver’s seat of my car. I’ve spent much of my life listening to the dire prognostications of doctors. Dead before college, one cautioned. Bedridden at 25, another warned. Six months to live, two convinced me, in tandem, twenty-two years ago.
I believed each one. It stood to reason that they would eventually get it right. So how would it feel, being unable to pull myself even clumsily onto the sidewalk and walk along the edge of the field? During my free time in my early California days, I drove around the islands here, taking pictures from my car. I studied the images, trying to get a sense for the limit of that narrow focus. It’s bound to happen, sooner or later, right? If the spasticity doesn’t get me, won’t I fall and hurt myself too badly to regain ambulation? Could I tolerate the eternal view from the window of my RAV?
This evening I drove home in the quiet of a pandemic world. Few cars stirred the dust on the asphalt. The sound of birds drifted down to me from high in the towering trees. I raised my lens again and again, idling with the serene river on one side and the lush fields on the other. A hawk turned its gaze on me, unconcerned. A mother owl seemed to focus on the glint of my camera’s eye. When I pulled into my lot, in front of my tiny house, I could not help feeling that somewhere in this awful situation, I have managed to find some good.
It’s the fifteenth day of the seventy-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.