The Best Medicine

So the new place I live in isn’t far from downtown, where I work. The neighborhood is nice and quiet, if a little worn down. There’s a liquor store/gas station to the left of my house and an excellent Vietnamese restaurant to the right. And a Subway that looks sketchy.

To get to and from work, I cross a bridge. It’s a walk that takes anywhere from a half an hour to forty – five minutes, dependent entirely upon my mood. On one side is the downtown area, full of bars and restaurants. On the other end, the bridge splits. One direction leads to my home and some government buildings. The other leads to the port and an inlet that looks incredible under the sun.

A couple days ago, I was heading home from work and I looked up from a Living Dead story anthology I was reading. The sun was descending upon the water in crimsons and amethysts. People were standing in a river far below in hip waders, fishing. Downtown Anchorage looked vintage in its own way, there, from the center of the bridge. It wasn’t even that loud, with only the occasional passing car sending a tremor under my feet.

I stopped and leaned against the railing for a few minutes, just…looking. I wasn’t even terribly thoughtful. I just took it in and thought about how beautiful my state could be. There were some abandoned warehouses below me, too. Not so beautiful.  All the same, I kind of wanted to break in, just to look, just to check out the dusty insides of a factory workplace that had long been abandoned to dust and days.

It was nice, taking a moment to just stop and let things be around me. Let the world turn around me while I just observed.

Yesterday, a great man who spread joy and laughter to millions of people lost his battle with himself. He was someone many people, myself included,  grew up on. As a child,  he made me laugh. As an adult, he made me laugh harder once I found his stand-up routines. As an actor and writer,  his serious turns and intelligent writings were something to look up to and be inspired by.

As someone who has lost many to depression and who has wrestled with the disease, I was gut-wrenched by the news. For someone who has been so iconic and influential and almost universally beloved to have succumbed…it hurts and it’s scary and it is so monumentally sad.

I wish he had more quiet bridge moments, where the pressures fell away for a few moments. Maybe that would have helped. Maybe not. We’ll never know.

I know that more than ever I want to pursue my art to reach others. I want to bring people an escape. I also want to bring attention to depression and suicide and do what I can for those afflicted by and struggling with it.

May your sunsets be deep. May your sunrises be eternal.

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