Lately, I've come to know grief in a way I hadn't before. And this past Saturday night, I had the opportunity to watch as death – as grief and the gifts it can bring – came home. After seven years of writing, Gary’s 23rd book, The Carry Home – Lessons from the American Wilderness, is in bookstores.
It’s a story of the healing power of the natural world. It is a memoir on the tragic death ten years ago of his wife of 25 years in a canoeing accident on a wild river in Canada. In the telling, Gary documents the enactment of Jane’s wish to have her ashes spread in five specific wild places that had helped her know herself. This honoring of Jane’s wish was also the map for his healing journey through grief.
Gary chose to do his first public reading following the book’s publication in Red Lodge, Montana – his home for the past 27 years. I wrote a bit of a blog about that evening (please click here). The video on the blog site loads slowly, but stands as a thank you/love letter to the community Gary now considers his hometown.
I remember learning in Kenneth Ahrnes 8th grade Earth Science class about shadows, about their umbras and penumbras – their darkest centers and the way they shade back to their stark boundary with light. My relation with Jane is now part of my own story, and, even though my proximity to death through Jane seems in the penumbra of that story, it is the way death teaches me and most of you through Jane’s life and its ending.
Because, there it is. Jane's life given over to death. The way each of our lives and each of the lives of anyone, anything born will be.
And the opportunity? Listening, learning together with those of us living still how to be even more alive in our impermanence - in the unavoidable companionship each of our lives has with its end.
NOTE; We also invite you to check out the new page on this site YOUR STORY. We know how healing telling our stories can be - so we've made a place for you to share yours with other visitors to thecarryhome.com.