Woke up for my morning run and look. These little dashes of fine powder are falling on Seattle.
The first snow of the year. I have to get out there!
The air is sharp. It’s 5:15am. Jogging around the square, enjoying the white city, taking a round-about route to Starbucks, which doesn’t open till 5:30am.
My deaf friend, Joe Heller, is already at the counter writing a note about his brother, whom he’d like me to meet but whom doesn’t rise as early as us. Joe and his brother are living in the Morrison up the street from me. I write back as I don’t know sign language, and offer to come by the Starbucks later next weekend so I can meet his brother.
Using numerous scraps of envelopes and packaging pulled from the recycling bin, we continue the note writing for a while and he tells me that when he was 34 he fell into an elevator shaft, broke his neck, ribs, arm and hip and over three days managed to climb out. I am sure every word is true as Joe is frank, honest and open in a lovely way I am trying to emulate. He has been homeless most of his life but now he and his brother have spots in the Morrison Building up the street. I want to know how it is that he survived to share this riveting story but my window for running is tight. I need to hit the pavement so that I can get back to the house before Simone and Naomi wake up. I write, “Joe, we’ll have to pick up the thread another time. See you tomorrow morning bright and early. I’ll be waiting on pins and needles to find out how you survived?”
…And out I head into the white wrapped city.
Suddenly it dawns on me, what if I never heard the rest of Joe’s story. It could happen.
My friend Kay Nosler, died last week. There is much I don’t know about her. She read voraciously and got out to plays, music and lectures so there was always a great deal of material for us to ponder and I miss those conversations. It was like we both had balls of yarn we would knit together between laughs. One ball of yarn was a story we heard on NPR, another was an interview on Charlie Rose and another was a story in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and together we’d weave those into a lasting discussion about our experience of life lately. Suddenly I miss her so much that I can’t swallow and the air keeps going out and not going in…but I keep running and sort of move through waves of collapsing lungs until they hit some limit and inhale so much that I feel dizzy…then it smooths out. Jogging through mourning seems to work for me. It is what I did when Keith Grinstein died, Italo Scanga, the dancers, all the way back to when my father died.
Which leads me to another reason I am writing this morning. We had a particularly marvelous dinner party at the Tower last night. Martha Enson, Kevin Joyce and their daughter Ruby as well as Monica, David, Annabel and Sophie Stephenson came over. I loved how eager we all were to discuss and share and learn about each other …we glanced (or I should say “lanced’) the top of dozens of stories and I am eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to gather up those plots (so much was happening in each of our lives) and continue the discussion.
What a nice feeling.