Richard's daughter calls this afternoon from Warren to say her father died three days ago. At Tuesday Evening Conversation his chair is vacant, but he is merely absent.
John O'Donohue writes that presence and absence are sisters; vacancy being the opposite of presence.
Saskia leads Buddhist prayer and bells for a deceased person.
You ask me why I stay on this blue mountain?
I smile but do not answer.
My mind is at ease!
Peach blossoms and flowing streams
Pass away without a trace.
How different from the mundane world!
- Li P’o (701–762)
He wanted to be done with the cycle of birth and death. It took a Saturday afternoon going to prepare snow blower for coming storm to lay him out on ground with no getting up.
Many months ago, just before going out door after conversation, Richard asked: "Are you my friend?" I said: "I am." I didn't know it until he asked.
In the Ninth Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:
Maybe we're here only to say: house,
bridge, well, gate, jug, olive tree, window —
at most, pillar, tower... but to say them, remember,
oh, to say them in a way that the things themselves
never dreamed of existing so intensely.
We rang bells after touching earth, burning incense, bowing, and saying grateful words.
Many bells. A joyful cacophony.
For a friend.