I got on my bicycle and headed into Golden Gate Park. Fog had come in; there was no moon, and no reflected light from the city. I ignored a strong sense of foreboding.

When I regained consciousness I was lying belly down on a grassy patch of earth with my left arm twisted under my chest, reaching out beyond my right ear. I couldn't get up, and I realized that I was paralyzed from my neck down. It was like looking into the deepest pit I had ever encountered, accented by jolts of pain that seemed like high voltage electrical shock. I discovered the value of howling as a way of riding pain that seems impossible to bear.

In the momentary respites between surges of pain I began to assess my new reality in a strangely lucid and thorough way. Participation in a sequence of documentary film projects was now impossible. I wouldn't be going to join Ray Telles in Texas five days later; I might not be able to meet Susana in Argentina in March; a series of trips with Toby McLeod to finish shooting his film about Native American sacred sites was probably lost. Months of challenging work were suddenly cancelled by something I hadn't seen. Had I brought this accident on with carelessness generated by pain from the end of that long and happy affair?

Photo by Tobby Mcloed