From a very long time ago. But it feels like just yesterday we were 13 and running around in those woods in Vermont.
Do you have a place like that in your childhood? A safe place, a comfortable place.
Home on the Hill
For me, that was a very short window of time that I spent at a small boarding school in rural Vermont. It was the mid 70s and my parents were going through the period before their split. Its a time when it isn’t fun to be at home, and for a teenager, a time when anywhere but home felt like the “right” place to be.
My older brother was just finishing his postgraduate program in New Haven at the time, and had dreamed of going to this hippie school in the woods. It was the dream of any liberal young person born of the Woodstock/Vietnam era to live on a farm, creating community and working the land.
For me, it was just a place that seemed far from here.
It was a short time on that hill, but a time of childhood dreams, and the days of responsibility and adult decision making seemed very far away.
In reality, it was tough to live on a working farm for a Hong Kong city girl like me, and I had never been around trees and plants that provided your sustenance, and animals that helped you farm, or gave you gifts of their nourishment.
It was there that I found a small tight knit community of idealistic, hopeful, creative young people thrown together in a working farm that was a school built on Quaker values of honest work and good community.
Got Your Back
Gary Burch was someone who just became your friend, no matter who you were.
He was the kind of guy who had your back. Who would come and pull you out of the lake if you fell in. Or talk you into climbing up a tree, and swinging back down with a hope and a prayer. We were crazy kids, learning to live in the woods, on the planet, and with each other.
Gary was always around. Somehow, always friends with everyone, and just wildly, beautifully open and authentically himself. Open in heart and soul, and great at spinning music to find that soul 😉
And you would just Trust him, know he wouldn’t get you into Real trouble… Just plain old kick ass FUN.
Connection & Reflection
We lost touch over the years, and reconnected a few years ago through the wonders of Google and online communities, and then Facebook. He came out to California a few times, and we connected in Ohio and at the reunion. Somehow years never seemed to matter with Gary.
He was just someone who was always there for you.
You know the kind of guy. The only one who shows up if you are moving, the kind of guy who drives his daughters across the country to fulfill dreams at schools and careers.
Something always leaves when we lose someone dear. And there is just something about childhood friendships, especially those from high school. And from a community where you live together, on a farm in the woods.
We were children of the Sixties, full of views to change the world, and make a difference. The last time I saw him in Cleveland, on a freezing day by the lake, we took this photo.
We talked about life, and love and we drove around the city. I saw his childhood home, and his first condo and first office and a view that coloured in the picture of a brilliant and brave heart.
Life has a funny way of turning corners you least expect, and Gary and I were able to share conversations of reflection, and rear view mirror eyes. It’s always good to have a friend like that, a friend who keeps you “honest”.
Honest to yourself about what was good/bad about life, and how to free your view. Eyes forward with a smile.
Blue Moon Love
Tonight is a Blue Moon, which is a second full moon within a Gregorian calendar month. It is a rare event, and won’t happen again until July 2015.
Today is the service for Gary.
It is also the day of the service for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Perhaps we can see the blue moon tonight and remember all those who have walked to unknown places on earth, or on the moon.
Or into our hearts.
Good bye my friend. Your laughter echoes in my heart, and I thank you for showing me that dreams do make a difference.