Since I was a boy there have been any number of people I would've traded places in a heartbeat. In my twenties I wanted to trade places with an acquaintance I knew who had the world by the tail. Several years later disaster struck. He was permanently paralyzed in an accident and his life fell apart--(at least until he learned new coping skills; I never learned how far he got).

        I kept on slugging my way through the underbrush and brambles. It was a hard path that taught me to appreciate life's agonies and joys equally. Over time, I learned to trust in my own strength of will; I gained a sure-footedness, however metaphorically, that has endured throughout the years.

        Scarred with pains and pleasures, we unfold to the Light... .

        Early one evening, I sat content and comfy in my wheelchair, feet splayed before the fireplace, hypnotized as flames danced and leapt, disappearing into the void. Grateful for the brilliance of the autumn day, being satisfied after a nice meal, I took small sips of espresso from the cup cradled in my left palm.

        Wife and baby daughter cuddled on the sofa nearby. I inhaled the memories of this day and recent others; got lost in the richness and wonder of it all. Life was good and I grateful.


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Copyright 2001, Gary Kline