Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18: Reminder

Hundreds of people from the community gathered together today under a big tent in the hot sun at the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area to celebrate the life of Ken Bailey, a man who did it all: he was a loyal husband and father, Vietnam vet, editor and columnist of the local paper, owner of the town shoe store, policeman, fireman, Rotarian, Maine guide, avid hunter and fisherman, executive director of the Megunticook Watershed Association, and lake warden on Megunticook Lake and Nortons Pond. He had a kind word for everyone, and his life was an inspiration. He loved life and outlived his cancer prognosis by about four years, engaged and alert to the very end.

I stood in the shade of a spruce tree while family and close friends recounted their favorite memories of Ken. Up the mountainside a raven croaked several times, distracting me for a moment. As I briefly shifted my attention, I could hear a goldfinch twitter and dip overhead. It struck me how here below we were all thinking about mortality, grieving a loss in our human community, while up in the sky the birds continue to fly and sing: life goes on. Beautiful things still happen, even when we aren't open to recognizing them.

Above the mourners
goldfinches flit and chatter 
in the bright sunshine.

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