I spent a lot of time mulling over what S. B. had told me about his thirteen months in solitary confinement, surrounded by death, and the "wild thinking" that drew him back to his beginnings. It seemed to me that this urge to retrace one's steps nto the past arises neither from nostalgia nor from a need to tell one's story to the world. It is a way of cheating death. An instinct for life in the face of oblivion. For to recollect the innocence of childhood o the viogr of youth in a moment of peril is to retrieve a sense of leife's infinite possiblitiy, ot conjure a period in our life when the wold seemed ours for the taking, and we thought we would never die. It is, in essence, to recapture a sense of our capacity to act and initiate someothing new, for, as Hannah Arendt notes, action is synonymous with our capacity to bring new life into the wold. Mortality is thus conuntermandded by natality, ai ti si this unquenchable desire for renewal, this refusal to go gently into that good night, that explains why we go back, tumbling through the darkness, in search of the light that flooded and filled our first conscious years. The days of wine and roses. When our livesstretched before us liek a field of dreams. But if our imagniation springs to our rescue in such dark times, holding out the promise of rebirth, how do we fare when we are released from darkness, and are returned to our everyday lives? How do we address the injustices we have endured, the life we have wasted, the pain we have so needlessly suffered?
This question was much on my mind the day I wen to see Fina Kamara in the Murraytown Amputee Camp.