James Horner wrote a wonderful piece for The Field of Dreams called The Place Where Dreams Come True. I love that movie. The music always reminds me of life’s great possibilities and that there is something or someone greater at play in the universe. It’s one of those things I turn to when I need to be reminded that there’s a bigger purpose out there…whether I know what it is or not.
Time and events take and give from the cavernous spaces of the heart that hold our dearest memories. But they can’t rob you of the best of them and a gentleman named Mick will always hold one of those spaces for me.
Mick was my friend, though I never had the delight to meet him in person. We met as writers on one website and eventually became friends on Facebook. Foolish people say the friendships you make on Facebook aren’t real, but who are they to define friendship. My apologies to those who might think me presumptuous writing about someone I knew so little. I'm sure there's much about him I never knew, still what I did know mattered to me. When I heard last week that he had died I was shocked…and so truly sad, for myself and also for those who loved him.
I’d always expected to meet him in person one day. We have mutual friends. My heart broke, knowing I’d never have that pleasure; never see another one of his silly conversations with squirrels he met in the trees he worked on, never another wise comment or response, never read another one of his insightful and often touching columns or see one of his incredible landscape photos again; never another one, never the next thing.
That’s what the end is like for those of us on this side. We are left to treasure what’s left behind and, from my perspective, my friend left a great deal. He wrote with a spare and often elegant prose about a life lived fully. He roamed the open spaces of the Palmer divide with his camera and dog and took such lovely photos I hoped one day he’d make it possible for us to hang them in our homes.
He built his own home from logs. He climbed the tallest trees-and killed them. He biked across the country and stopped along the way, recording his adventures in a blog that was funny and perceptive. He saw the things many of us pass by without notice. Mick noticed and he told us what he saw and how it affected him. He had his demons, from too many beers to too many squirrels, but it was clear he had humor and love, and family and friends that added great joy and value to his life.
Today I’m feeling the loss of a friend. I’m listening to Mr. Horner’s music and thinking of what dreams are coming true on the other side for Mick. Maybe I’ll get to meet him there, one day. For now, the Lord got the better of the deal. Farewell...you are dearly missed, my friend.
(Photo by Michael 'Mick' Rule)