Letter From New York August 15, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

It is the middle of August; you can almost touch the end of summer, a summer that has been delightful, warm but not hot, humidity low, an unusual Eastern summer. Because of a break in my schedule, I have retreated to the cottage for a few days. Waking this morning, the day had broken grey again, cool, almost chill, a day requiring a sweatshirt with the temptation of starting a fire in the wood stove to charm away the cool.

It is almost too chill for the shorts I’m wearing. And, after a little soul searching,I did decide to light a fire to charm away the cool.

This afternoon’s chore is to sort through a bunch of old papers, letters that I think date back to my college days that have somehow managed to follow me through all these years in an old wicker basket taken from the basement of my mother’s house in south Minneapolis.

It feels like a good time to cast off those memories. I have been getting my house in order; no one lives forever and I would like to not leave behind a mess. Not that I have any plans in going anywhere for awhile but we are all mortal and I’ve been feeling the winds of mortality at my back.

My good friend Tim Sparke, younger than me, is waging war with the cancers in his body, defying medical odds and doctor’s prognostications, continuing to live after a being given a six month horizon some two years ago. I received an email from him this weekend that chronicled his battles, the victories and defeats, the advances and the retreats of the long campaign since last we had communicated six months ago.

These are days of reflection, underscored and punctuated by the reality of Tim’s illness, a personal touching of mortality on my life while the whole world, it seems, ponders the seeming incomprehensibilty of Robin Williams’ death, a passing which has cast an unexpectedly large shadow over our lives.

It seemed he had always been there in the background of our lives, a manic, whirling dervish of a thousand characters that punctuated our lives. From Mork & Mindy to The Birdcage to Good Will Hunting to A Night at the Museum, he was part of the fabric of our cultural life. And he will be missed.

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