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256 pages, Hardcover
First published November 17, 2020
That's life: the leopard you see; the one you don't see; and the one that prowls stealthily through your dark places. The first leopard for me, up to this point, is Parkinson's. I know its habits. I know its territory. I know it's cruelty. I know when it's safe to get out of the jeep and when it's not.There are lessons here for readers because we are all aging and many of the handicaps PD have placed on Michael J. Fox will eventually visit us in old age. Michael’s combination of optimism and foolishness might be insights we all need.
The second is the leopard I don't see. It's that gut feeling that something is wrong, very wrong. Something is out there waiting to pounce. No warning, no negotiation no accommodation., This foreboding is a recent development, something that is common for many of us in middle age, and which has intensified for me with the discovery and removal of the spinal tumor.
And then, with my fall in the kitchen a new existential crisis emerged. ... It's the unknown dangers that paralyze: Darkness. Confusion, Solitude. Vulnerability. Essentially blindfolded, grasping for a familiar shape, a handhold that is stable and can be trusted, but finding only the temporary and unstable as I negotiate my way pleading my case before gravity. The stakes are high; not only could I damage myself, I could harm others who share my space. I pray that I'll find my way, however unsure I may be of the path. (p.186)
... ... ...
In that same "nothing to fear" speech, Franklin D. Roosevelt also said, "Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."
I accept the optimist part, but now, I also admit to its foolishness. (p.187)