Monday, April 25, 2005

Memorial Part One

  • A bison calf walks awkwardly behind mom.
  • Note: this entry was written Saturday.

    I’m writing from the Wichita Wildlife Refuge. I’m up here with my coven to scatter the ashes of our covenmate, Jim. Jim passed away this past January from lung cancer and we have tried to coordinate getting all of us up here to do it. The original plan was to have John, Jim’s son accompany us but that did not work out. I wish it had; after Jim passed we got to meet both of Jim’s children and they are both good people. We are lucky that Daniel, Jim’s housemate and very good friend, was able to come. We will keep in our hearts those that could not attend.

    Jim was a very special man to me and I did not realize how special he was until he was gone. In his fifties, he was a Navy vetran, marathon runner and a nudist. Jim did much to teach me how to be comfortable with my own imperfect and, to me, unattractive body. Because of his life’s experience, he often would give me advice and guidance. Jim was a very humble man and would often conclude his advice with a small shrug and a disclaimer: “…but what would I know.”

    Turned out he knew a lot about life, love, pain and healing. Jim was gay and as with most gay men of his generation, he suffered for it (not to say gay men of this generation do not suffer). He was a married man when he came to terms with his sexuality and I believe this caused great harm to his wife and children. I think, although he never explicitly said so, that Jim truly wished there was some way he could have fixed and healed this pain and I believe he tried.

    He had learned much of tolerance from this and Jim really did posses the very rare ability to forgive others their trespasses and let go of resentments.

    It has already been an extraordinary trip. We have not seen Jim’s Totem animal, the elk, but we have seen ducks, geese, bison and lonhorns. We have in fact been in the middle of a bison herd crossing the road. That was a truly beautiful experience and I will share photos with you. I have not hiked anywhere yet, but I don’t feel too bad about that. This may well be the last weekend of relaxation I get for quite a while since we are going to have the baby in literally a couple of weeks. Goddess, this pregnancy has flown by.

    As always, simply being here, in nature, surrounded by trees and brush, with the wind whispering to me, I know and feel that I am deeply blessed and connected to the great web of life. You see the bison calves and the mother’s shedding winter coat, we are a part of, not a part from.

    Another wonderful, beautiful thing that I have seen: a wind farm. I hope those photos come out. You have no idea what a thrill it is to see renewable energy being generated just outside of a nature preserve. What an awesome sight that is!

    This is a sad trip because it is a place of many endings. We say goodbye to Jim, and we dissolve the coven. We are too small of a group and too insular to be healthy. Because of our long and close association, I do not see how any person can join us and feel welcome; they would always be the new peroson. If several people were to join there would be a circle within the circle and that is inappropriate. I do not know what is next, but it will not be TotemGrove.

    This is a hopeful time as well, it is spring and this is the time of new beginnings. Laura and I will have a daughter soon, Goddess willing. That old Chinese curse may you live in interesting times is not so much a curse as a challenge; a challenge to be taken one day at a time and with the help of a Higher Power and the wonderful people in our lives.

    Animals we saw:
    White Tail Deer
    Turkey Vultures
    Red Tail Hawk