My apartment is less than a mile from where I had a stroke. I didn't plan it; I really don't enjoy passing by the site of that little slice of unpleasantness, and I go out of my way so I don't have to stroll down that street.
But sometimes when I'm on my nightly jaunt through the sketchy southwest side I find myself walking along the same sidewalk. Not much has changed in the 18 months since it happened. So much has changed.
I don't think about what happened that morning, in part because many of the memories surrounding that period of my life are in fragments. In compiling a book of columns I've gone back through this blog and re-read its entries. I can recall the emotions, but a lot of the specifics are dust. There's a blessing. It's impossible to mourn what you don't remember.
Most of me has also moved on from those hazy, crazy days. That's a blessing, too. I'd like to think I'm sturdier than I was then, more able to stay upright in a storm. I know I'm calmer, a somber (and sober) survivor. Or maybe I'm just flat, mistaking depression for solemn steel. No matter. The end result is the same, a newfound chill that seems to suit this version of Ron.
So when I walk along the sidewalk where life changed in a few seconds, when I walk past the culvert where I relaxed with a friend and stared at the stars, just a few hours before the stroke, I don't focus on living so close to Where It All Began. I walk and listen to music. I think of Brazil, the land of so many hopes and dreams. I wonder about the power of wonder, and the ways I will still move. Zen, every now and then.