There’s a reason why I try not to mention people’s names on this blog unless I have their specific consent—the usual privacy reason, of course. But there’s an additional reason—I might get it wrong. In the Biking Over Boulder Mountain account a couple of entries ago, it isn’t Steve Parker, Kirtly’s brother, who was biking with Brooke, but Steve Boyer, a world class mountaineer and international refugee doc—of course I knew that, since I’d driven over Boulder with them while they biked, lounged in the hot tub with them afterward at the Boulder Mountain Lodge—a welcome reward for their efforts—and then had a wonderful dinner together with them. Silly me.
In pointing out this mistake, Kirtly said, how remarkable how close that trip was to a year ago. Yes, it’s just a year. Who could have known what lay ahead for Brooke? The Existentialists along with various other philosophers have insisted that we should always live our lives as if something like this could happen at any moment--which to some of us, it does. And could to any of us in the future. One of the extraordinary things about hanging around in rehab facilities is how many of the patients here are caught so to speak in mid-life—driving their cars somewhere, riding their bikes or their motorcycles just for fun, or like an old college friend of mine climbing down a ladder from the loft in somebody’s summer cabin, or like Brooke’s spinal-cord mentor, jumping on a trampoline with your kids. Now they’re all lumped into a common category—the disabled—but underneath, they’re all regular people who were just living their regular lives.
Maybe that’s part of what explains the extraordinary sense of community I see among people with spinal cord injuries, something Brooke deeply experiences and is amazingly grateful for, and I admire from nearby but still outside.