sunrise, Boston, February 2 2023
Happy new year. A few things on my mind lately. I’d love to know what you’re reading, loving, and thinking about.
More and More, I Talk to the Dead – I love all of Margaret Renkl’s writing (her book, Late Migrations, is gorgeous) and this piece in the New York Times is no exception. This article made me gasp out loud, and I relate. The article reminded me of one of my most vivid memories, which is from years ago on the Solstice, December 21st. I was walking at sunset (which was around 4:30) and had a sudden and strong sense of people that were gone to me – most of all my grandmother and my mother’s best friend Susie, who was a kind of second mother to me – standing just over the horizon. It was like they were there. And instead of being eerie, the sensation was reassuring, comforting. Now dad is with them, and my other grandparents, too.
I’ve also been thinking about when Matt and I summited Kilimanjaro, in June of 1998. Perhaps because I’ve been listening to Southern Cross on repeat. And as I wrote on Instagram, as we headed up to the summit we could see both the southern cross and the big dipper in the sky at once. As we kept climbing, a storm rolled in. Our summit photos could have been taken in front of a show blower at Killington; the background is just white. No spectacular sunrise for us. Anyway, at the top of Kilimanjaro we met two other people who we thought were heading to the summit. You get towards the top and there’s about an hour to the actual summit (and the famous sign that you’ve seen in friends’ photos – but not ours!). They had stopped moving and were heading down.
“Did you get to the top?” We asked them.
“No, but we got to this spot and it’s close enough.” One of the two men answered.
We nodded at them.
“I mean, who will know?” He continued.
“Well, you will.” I said, before I could apply my filter (my filter is not, at the best of times, particularly well developed).
We continued up. It was slow going. We got to the top and headed down. The next day, we were getting onto a bus at the base of Kili back to the hotel where we had been staying. One of the men we’d encountered at the top was sitting on the bus. He smiled at me, and said hello. “I have you to thank,” he said to me, surprising me. What was he talking about? “I would never have gone to the actual summit if not for you.”
“Oh, wow. I did not realize. I’m sorry I was so abrupt with you at the top.” I had been feeling badly about my comment to him.
“No, I want to thank you. It’s because of you that I got to the top.”
I’ve never forgotten that.
That’s my February 2 2023 update. How are you all doing? What are you reading and thinking about?