Friday, March 16, 2007

My Friend Jim on a Road Less Traveled

My friend Jim is about to turn 60. His daughter recently contacted me to ask if I could contribute to a scrapbook of memories she was putting together for him. I am very thankful for the opportunity to remember a very important person in my life.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the reminder of the lovely letter you contributed to the book. It would be wonderful to meet you face to face some day!

    All the best,
    (the daughter)