Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where You Find It

So many things to write about, so many ways to avoid writing about them. Emotions, my friends, they'll do you in. I will put aside the pressure cooker of righteous anger and sadness and disappointment that is my outlook on the Martin/Zimmerman case. I don't know if I'll ever be ready to press that release valve, besides, it's not like other people haven't voiced what I'm feeling more succinctly and eloquently.

What I'm going to write about instead, and is maybe more difficult to write about because it's personal, is grief reawakened. This past weekend we had our annual get-together with the friends we made back in to old days of being Hair groupies. It's always a lot of fun, so good to see everyone, no matter who shows up. This year there were a lot of kids, the next generation coming up strong. I was a little bummed out we weren't able to camp overnight this year, but it just didn't work out. We were there, and that's the important thing.

Anyway, most people who read this know that we lost our very good friend Leo, the "Tribe Elder" and powerhouse human being who was the hub of this conglomeration of friends as well as the event organizer, a few years back. I've never had full closure about his passing, because it happened so fast, but the years have helped. I think we're all at the point when we get together that never stops us missing him, but it brings us joy to assemble, celebrating his life; it's a reminder that it all moves fast so we take the precious time to be together. This summer, though, it hit me afresh: I was visiting Niki--the last time I saw her--when Leo died. And those two singular losses will always be linked together now, for me. Yes, because  two really good friends and two absolute forces of nature had their lives were cut unbelievably short by a terrible disease. They have that in common. I don't think there's any mystical connection or anything, it just hits so hard, the feelings. It's beautiful in its own way.

So that's what I took away from my time on the farm this year. Memories of good people, some bugbites, a happy, s'mores-filled kid, and a hazy layer of sadness, a gel of purple-blue pain cast over center stage. But it's OK, it really is. I'll never stop missing Nik or Leo. I'll never stop being grateful for the richness they added to my life.

It doesn't stop the sadness, but that's OK too. Being able to hold all of it in my mind together might just be the peace I've been looking for.


(Thanks to Jimmy P. for all the beautiful photos, for carrying the conch, for being such a good dude.)

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