Remembering Philip eight years on, childlike joy still comes first to mind. Still scaling trees (in his 60s) in search of fruit. Recklessly befriending a teenage alligator. Running sideways and backward because it was more creative than running forward. Singing in bathtubs and tunnels where the acoustics were best. Reciting and writing poetry, playing guitar, singing … always singing … Filling my days with light and love.
Delighting in nieces and nephews who turned to him for stories, music, laughter, and confidences. Sunny, summer hours spent with Misha when he was little, inventing from the books they read together. They were Bilbo and Gandalf, and anyone they didn’t like was a goblin, dwarf, troll, or, worst of all, Smaug.
Saluting the sun. Sun gazing. Hugging trees. Hugging the ground.
His rolling laughter loosened constriction … diminished pettiness. Hints of something greater flowed through the honeyed warmth of his humor. Absurd limericks he’d scribbled and left tucked into books (that I found after he was gone) tickled and broke my heart all over again. Something about him was timelessly young. The archetypal puer aeternis, the eternal child. Even when undeniably ill and suffering.
And then, in those final months, the senex emerged. A man, old but ethereal. Wise through suffering and the sensing of imminent mortality. So thin, the light shone through him. Lying on his bed in the Costa Rican retreat center, younger guests pulled up a chair to confide dreams, fears, and hopes. Calling on deep knowing that brought its own celestial atmosphere and texture, the air in the room grew dense. Holding a conflicted young man’s hand, leaning in to hear a woman’s secret, his words were lit candles. Pulling from sources of inspiration, all who were graced to be there felt lifted, embraced, entranced. We were awed. As was he. As Time and Fate pushed him inexorably closer to Death,.he became the best of himself … more than himself
Sending all my love and longing out into the Universe and toward you today … and always.