My Friend Jim
I met Jim at a tumultuous time in my life. Not yet out of my teens, I was struggling with the concept of adulthood at a time when everything around me was changing. War raged in Southeast Asia. If you hadn’t been to a teach-in, or a love-in, or a sit-in, you hadn’t been anywhere. Everyone, it seemed, had a revolution to follow.
My demeanor was typical of the times. Relatively unkempt, I sported an untrimmed beard, longish hair, and work boots. A full-length surplus military issue wool trench coat kept me warm in the winter. Rebelliousness was my nature.
I was reaching out, trying to discover myself, when I met Jim at a retreat at Camp Iawah. He was the right person for me to meet at the right time. Here was a young man, a few years older than myself, with whom I could share a similar sense of quest. Outwardly we may have seemed so different, yet we both sought truth. From those beginnings north of Westport we developed a kinship that has remained with me to this day. Although I haven’t seen Jim for quite some time, he has always remained close to my heart.
I have many memories, from ‘messing about with boats’ to trips to the east coast, to skinning my knuckles as I tried to keep old Volvos on the road. During this time, I was also learning about Buddhism, and what I learned then, I like to think, has stayed with me. One of those “Buddhist” teaching is to be in the moment. Jim showed me how to be. He did it by eating a peach. When Jim ate a peach, he ate a peach. I almost felt that I ate the peach with him.
Thank you, Jim, for being part of this lifelong journey.
There is nowhere to go, for we are already here.