Life journeys

GrandpasHands [dropcap custom_class="normal"]F[/dropcap]riday night my grandfather died. He was 92, and his passing was not unexpected, but every death takes its toll.

As I was searching around on the Interwebs yesterday morning for some solace, I found this quite amazing poem by Billy Collins, called "The Afterlife." It reminds me of my favorite part in the book The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, where "heaven" is each person's "simplest dreams." (And heaven changes and adapts as time passes.) I've always thought it was a beautiful idea.

Before heading home to be with my family, I will climb Pikes Peak tomorrow — the culmination of one small journey of my own. And I'll hike with Collins' words and my grandfather's legacy in mind.

While you are preparing for sleep, brushing your teeth, or riffling through a magazine in bed, the dead of the day are setting out on their journey.


They're moving off in all imaginable directions, each according to his own private belief, and this is the secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal: that everyone is right, as it turns out. You go to the place you always thought you would go, the place you kept lit in an alcove in your head.


Some are being shot into a funnel of flashing colors into a zone of light, white as a January sun. Others are standing naked before a forbidding judge who sits with a golden ladder on one side, a coal chute on the other.


Some have already joined the celestial choir and are singing as if they have been doing this forever, while the less inventive find themselves stuck in a big air conditioned room full of food and chorus girls.


Some are approaching the apartment of the female God, a woman in her forties with short wiry hair and glasses hanging from her neck by a string. With one eye she regards the dead through a hole in her door.


There are those who are squeezing into the bodies of animals — eagles and leopards — and one trying on the skin of a monkey like a tight suit, ready to begin another life in a more simple key,

while others float off into some benign vagueness, little units of energy heading for the ultimate elsewhere.


There are even a few classicists being led to an underworld by a mythological creature with a beard and hooves. He will bring them to the mouth of the furious cave guarded over by Edith Hamilton and her three-headed dog.


The rest just lie on their backs in their coffins wishing they could return so they could learn Italian or see the pyramids, or play some golf in a light rain. They wish they could wake in the morning like you and stand at a window examining the winter trees, every branch traced with the ghost writing of snow.

On estate sales, books and connection

BooksEstateSale[dropcap custom_class="normal"] W[/dropcap]hile one of the best ways to pick up vintage finds, estate sales tend to turn me melancholy. In order for there to be an estate sale, most likely someone has died. And knowing that deals can be had, people sometimes rush them, pushing and shoving and grabbing a myriad of former belongings, haggling for the lowest price.

Today I walked into an estate sale, wandered the home (which was an adorable Victorian two-story), noticed the familiar twinges of sadness in my heart, and ended up in the library ... where I felt an immediate sense of connection to the person or persons who had passed.

I cannot tell you how many titles on those well-stocked shelves I had either read, currently or formerly owned, or wanted to read. Everything from novels by James Michener to poetry by Emily Dickinson (to the Hunger Games triology!) to books on living in the moment and meditation.

I did not know this person — his or her gender, history or life story — and yet, I knew we knew one another through those shared readings.

I am so grateful to have had that moment. To have had an opportunity to share space in this manner with another. And to know deep in my cells, once again, that we are all connected in so many different ways.

For you, from me, with love — 5/12

[dropcap custom_class="normal"] E[/dropcap]ye candy: Pegs.

Times four?


The New York Times featured one of my favorite style bloggers, Garance Doré. Fun little inside story on her rise. Find her blog here.

Speaking of Garance, her recent posts, "Talking Age," and "39 x Cooler." Apropos for my journey into my 40s.

After attending a Death Over Dinner discussion, stories like this touch my heart. And make me think.

Documentary-in-the-works by a friend about the National Mill Dog Rescue (which is headquartered here in Colorado Springs). Watch. Learn. And, if you can, help.

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Some suggestions on spring cleaning your clothes closet. (Something I've learned recently I have a talent for helping others do.) (Maybe that will be my next money-making gig.)

An absolutely lovely story on traveling Paris solo.

Adding to the To-Read List — The Rise, by Sarah Lewis

Prepping the kitchen — Ginger beer (#40before41)

And ... the powers that are walking, napping, timing your coffee, and resting.