There’s a cat here this morning, who is always speaking to me of her need to be attended to; she’s got many stories to tell, every morning — this, that, the other. I listen and look at her, when she’s telling me these stories. It’s pretty clear she appreciates this attention; she likes to know that I care to hear them.
She sleeps with me and curls in like a kitten, sometimes jerking in her sleep, off on some imagined adventuring. Or other times she sleeps closer to the fox skin on the bed, given to me by my brother Matt, in his encounter with a falconer in Kazakhstan, off on those windborne plateaus, the Karakoram rising up like teeth, in the farthest distance. We lost Matt in Mongolia, in 2001, coming down like a wounded bird, disappearing like a phoenix in fire. Off to other adventures, as his last email proffered…
It’s painful enough for my mother to hide this, the fox skin, when she comes to visit, sleeping there with my father — it’s a memory that she’d rather not have nearby.
But as I said, it’s better to keep death close by. Like the Tibetans say, every breath brings you closer to your last, so you might as well enjoy the savoring of each one, than to fail to remember its sliding presence, in your exhalations.
And to breath, I went to the Cystic Fibrosis gala last night. I’ve been a standing sponsor of this for 5 years, yet never went. Always others, at our table. Wearing my tuxedo in crossing the guarded gauntlet of the channel, in high winds and driving rain from the island. I stood there on the dock, formally attired, in the rain, waiting. It was jet dark — and they came late. But in that time, I pondered it — the breath. All around me was breathing. And I inhaled the wet air, being thankful for that. I could taste the salt and fragrance on my face and lips.
As I drove back to Seattle from the islands north, I felt thank full for many things, watching the rains, in lighted orbs, diffusing dreamlike on my windshield — traffic backed for miles. I was long late, in arriving.
But still, I was calm and quiet, and circulated among all the tables, seeing friends and clients, kissing all the women, clasping hands with the men. And our work was everywhere, thematically enriched in all. It’s what we do for them — designing threaded themes, deepening the message of the evening.
There were stories of course, of this disease — which is what connected me to this in the first place, friends whose children were afflicted (both boys). And that cure seems nearly there. The passion was great enough that in nearly 20 minutes, initiated by Paul, in a kind of brace of giving for the cure — 1 million dollars was raised; to then be matched by Microsoft for another million. Each offering, from 150,000, to 50,000, to 25,000, to 10,000, finally down to 100 dollars. And flurries of cards went up, at each. And the giving gave. And it was a wondrous happening, a marveling…
So I’m glad I do that, for them. And that this giving, shall gift others, in savoring that breath…