Twentieth Crashiversary

Dead tree against blue sky

Five and a half years after the car crash that took away myself, the only friend to reach in to me and who’s stuck with me until today, suggested I buy a point ‘n shoot camera. My brain injury had taken away my photography, and I could no longer use my Minolta Maxxum — “unintended consequences.” Just as US and Iran belligerence could not possibly have foreseen Canadian civilians being murdered (said with deepest dryest sarcasm), the drivers who tailgated and drove at speed behind us could not have possibly foreseen their violence ripping out my photography, my knitting, my piano playing, my reading, my cooking, my baking, my entertaining, my dog walking, my life.

The friend from far away in another country saw my slow crawl back to recovery, heard about this new treatment I was receiving, and did more than mouth words of support (which, to be honest, words of support was better than the words of attack most were hurling my way through messengers so I couldn’t tell them to fuck off). This friend actively encouraged me to go out and get a camera. He even knew what store I should go to and helped me find my way through the thicket of indecision brain injury had grown up around my mind. Knowing my logic was still intact, though it’d grind away at a days-long pace, he appealed to my reason to make his case. I felt grieved that I had to go all the way back to where I began in my photography, yet the freedom this little silver Nikon Coolpix S2 gave me, spoke to my pain. I could aim blindly and somehow come up with a decent shot that said in an image what my soul was experiencing but which I could not feel.

This image was my very first photograph with my new Coolpix.

Fourteen years later, my emotions are back, mostly. This shot still reflects how I feel. Though recent grief has brought into sharp relief questions I’m struggling with these last few weeks.

I’m dead. I’m alive. Today, I fish out of storage and wear a sweater I knit before the first car crash that set me back awhile. I know not why. Thirty years since I’ve been able to knit such intricate patterns. Twenty years since I knit simpler scarves; twenty years since I last picked up knitting needles; twenty years since the second car crash gave me brain injury. Where do I go from here?

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