"Tell me, what is it you will you do with your one wild and precious life?" ~Mary Oliver

Entries in Death (2)


We're alive

What do you do when you are 59...and you learn that a high school friend died in his sleep. Whoa. Just like that, this passionate, wild, crazy, unique, one-of-a-kind if there ever was one guy. Geoff King. Gone. 

This news made its way from Australia...across the Pacific...into my inbox this morning. (Thanks, dear Roslyn--for letting me know.) My heart is all over the place. Joe and I weren't close. Yet we had traveled and played together. Played full-out! Laughed and roared and explored as any good early twenty something does. We weren't close over the years. Yet there he was a few years the Smithsonian magazine I was reading in a doctor's office waiting room in Colorado. I turned the page to a tasmanian devil refuge in Tasmania---20,000 miles away. Could it be the same Geoff King? I sent an inquiry email and sure enough, our friendship rekindled just like that. His passions now fueling rescuing tasmanian devils...and habitat.

Now, Geoff is gone.

Oddly, yesterday I'd come across photo albums of this trip...thought wistfully for a moment before I swooshed back into Work*Productivity*High*Gear. So, this morning when I heard the news---I knew right where that album was. I flipped it open---and found Joe. Grinning and eyes flashing back at me. Playing an air (broom!) guitar, head flung back in song (very likely Bob Dylan). to the crackling campfire.  So young. So alive. So quirky. So adventuring at every turn...there we were a little gaggle of friends, gallivanting up and down the coast of Western Australia. We'd blindly hitchhiked in the offseason (making for a memorable night with an Australian bachelor farmer who took pity on us, the stranded hitchhikers with no ride in sight after a day. He took hospitality to a whole new level! Can still taste that home cooked farmer's breakfast of eggs, sausages, pork chops, potatoes, toast---but I digress!) Memories flooding in. Joe was a jokester. Still is, I reckon! 

And a voice whispers...

"Lynn, blog this."

Really? We weren't that close.

"Yes, really."

So--------here goes. I raise a toast to Geoff (who will always be "Joe" to me.) You lived full-out, mate! You in your red hair. You in your eccentricity. You gave us and the world your whole game. Here's to cricket in the afterlife! And a bevvy of tasmanian devils--with no need for protection. Just frolicking free! And you know---I just realized something. You want us to frolic freely. To enJOY every day. To risk a little (perhaps more than we have up til now). To really "go for it!" To leave it all on the field. To do what we can to make this world better because we were here. You'd love it if that were your legacy. I'm sure of it!

We're alive on this January 23rd (or January 24th for my Aussie mates), 2014.

We HAVE beating hearts. We ARE breathing. 

Let's risk everything!

Let's preserve. Or pre-SERVE!

Let's live as if it's our last day. Because it may be. The French choral anthem in the next room is rising now....voices, clear and strong. My book project awaits on the dining room table...along with a cup of Everyday Detox tea. I'll return shortly. The snow is gently falling off the branches backwashed by brilliant blue skies. Joe---are you there? Still grinning? Bless you and bless us everyone! Bless this whole blessed journey called life on earth. 

Who knew I'd be saying goodbye to a high school friend today? Belated thanks, Joe! For being a friend and fellow traveller. For opening me to myself....for leading the way...for by being you, inviting me into my true authentic being. Your life was as fiery as your red hair. 

Postscript: If you're reading this, you're alive. Me too. Let's make it good. Let's make it great!

Let's do it for Joe!






Alive in Our Tracks

Life. Fragile. A gift. Precious. We all know it.  And yet---it's so easy to lapse into some kind of transient sleepwalking. The kind that tricks us into thinking we'll live on forever. Or at least to some ripeness stretching years into the very distant future. I do it. You do it. So easy. Oddly, so normal.

Yesterday, we ate dinner at Marigold's, our favorite restaurant in Colorado Springs (tho we hadn't been there for awhile since we've been intentionally cooking/eating in).  I highly recommend it. We asked if our favorite waitress was working. No not tonight, said the hostess. We enjoyed sharing our flatiron steak, garlicky Ceasar, grilled veggies. We ran into friends. Nice. Normal. 

And then, as we were leaving, the hostess stopped us...and took us privately into the foyer. And told us why our favorite waitress wasn't there (you know, the one who loves the Mississippi River like we do. The one we've shared books with. And pictures of our kids. And celebrated life moments. The one who has been there with us in OUR health and body rollercoastering of life). Her only daughter had been tragically killed in a car accident three days ago. This beloved restaurant family was reeling. And she wanted us, her customers to know.  

Stopped dead in our tracks.

This morning, as is a common practice of mine, I mentioned to someone my very own age that we won't live forever. That today could be our last day. It's a tremendously helpful perspective. Changes everything. This afternoon I drove to the memorial service for a dear friend's father. A few hours later, I mailed the sympathy card I'd written to our waitress and walked back to our house noticing the cool, crisp evening. Checking my email, there was a message, sent from the iphone of the same person I'd spoken to earlier. She said you know that thing I was saying about how today could be our last day? Well, she'd almost been killed in a car accident tonite. Had it not been for the fast braking of her husband, she would have been hit side-on.

Stopped dead in our tracks.   

What a wake-up call! There's no denying. I really am alive right now. So are you, if you are reading this. Everything really is possible. Suddenly I get it. I realize with a new fervor that I want to be alive in my tracks. Yes, alive and messing up. Alive and trying something new. Alive and grateful. Alive and curious. Alive and making a difference. Alive and risking my significance. Alive and I know it. I feel a surge of gratitude for these two beloved women, the messengers. Women who faced death. Women who brushed up next to death. Women who helped me see that I am...

Alive in my tracks.