22 November 2009

Bird is the word

Some of you have had what I now refer to as owl stories. Stories of nature behaving unusually to let you know that Nate is OK. I had kinda hoped for one, but in my heart told Nate that if I didn't get one...that was OK.

I got one.

As I'm typing this a bunch of Nate's friends are getting together at a bar in L5P to drink to Nate's memory. I wanted to be there, but living in Colorado has a disadvantage when it comes to this. So I promise Nate's sister that I will have a drink around 2pm Mountain Time (around 4 eastern when they plan on starting the party).

I lazily go about my Sunday tasks. Laundry. Groceries. Dishes. I decide to take a break from chores to watch Star Trek. I finish up and I decide to check my computer. "Oh good," I think "iTunes has downloaded 'This American Life' onto my computer. Now I can listen to it while I do dishes." This has become a new weekly ritual for me. I sync up my iPod, strap it on and get to work on the dishes.

This American Life starts off with a song about turkeys playing baseball and Ira Glass comes on and tells me that they will be keeping their annual Thanksgiving tradition of doing stories about birds and poultry for the show. I think I'm in for an interesting show.

The first story is about an Afghan who decides to test a magic amulet that is supposed to render one bullet proof by strapping it to a chicken and firing at it with a small firearm from about the distance of a tennis court. In retrospect, I think Nate would like that story.

The next story starts off talking about Spalding Gray. Spalding was an Irish-American who went missing and turned up in the East River a few days later. His wife is retelling this sad tale and starts to talk about her children calling her to inform her there is a bird loose in their house. She remembers an old Irish legend Spalding told her about how if someone you know has died and you find a dead bird in your house, their spirit is restless. But if you find a live bird in your house their spirit is free.

I stop what I'm doing and shift my eyes from my kitchen sink to the vent above my stove less than a foot and a half away. I've had a bird living in this vent since around October. About the time we lost Nate.

I check the time. It's a little after 2pm. The party is getting started as the pieces of the puzzle all click into place to show me the picture. Nate is OK.

Now....as gullible as I am I can also be pretty skeptical. I start to try and find an out right away. I can't.

Having a bird living in my vent. Well....not that odd if you've ever lived through a Colorado winter. Finding out that a piece of your life corresponds with an Irish legend. Also not that odd. Finding it out a couple of months after your friend has died. Now it's getting kind of odd. Hearing about the Irish legend of a bird living in your house to indicate the freed spirit of a lost loved one as friends are gathering in your hometown to toast to his memory. I'd rather not calculate the odds.

I call Robert right away in the hopes he can get a hold of Nate's sister. He's still at his new house doing some cleaning. I tell him the story. I can tell he's crying. But this story doesn't make me feel like crying. It makes me feel like dancing. Like singing. Like leaping for joy. For the first time, I know....no....Nate has TOLD me...he's OK. It's all gonna be OK.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Living in a World where I know Nate isn't around is hard. I don't like that idea. But knowing that Nate is safe. Knowing that Nate wants us to know he's OK. Nate LETTING us know he's OK. Gives me a since of relief I can't quite describe.

Thank you Nate. I'm so glad you were....and still are....my friend.

18 November 2009

Party for Nate - Sunday Nov 22

Alysia is putting together a party at Corner Tavern this Sunday, November 22 around 4pm. It's the bar on the corner of Moreland and Euclid in Little Five Points.

Please come, and get the word out.

09 November 2009

"True Story" by Shel Silverstein

This is a poem that Nate once recited to me word for word by memory. He said it was the only poem he knew by heart.


This morning I jumped on my horse and went out for a ride.
Some wild outlaws chased me and they shot me in the side.
So I crawled into a wildcat's cave to find a place to hide,
But some pirates found me a'sleepin' there and soon they had me tied
'Till a lady zombie cut me loose and begged to be my bride.
So I said I'd come back Wednesday, but I must admit I lied,
'Cause I run away into the swamp but I forgot my guide.
And I stepped into some quicksand, and no matter how I tried,
I couldn't get out 'till I met a crocodile named Clyde
Who took me to some cannibals who planned to have me fried.
They built a fire under me and I swear I almost cried
'Till an eagle come and swooped me up and through the air we flied,
But he dropped me in a boiling lake a thousand miles wide.
And you know what happened then?
I died.


I never thought this poem would make me cry.

From Alysia sister

"This is another pic that was part of a series of pictures that Nate took with his Batphone on our way to Arkansas for Christmas last year. Moose and Nate got along great but Nate was bitching almost the entire time about all the dog hair and slobber getting on his clothes. He was not thrilled! I think he spent a good amount of time with a lint roller.

Robert, you are right about how he kept his stuff so nice for so long. All his tshirts were always hung, his electronics in pristine condition. I don't know how he did it. I get something nice and I usually break it or lose it within 6 months. Damn I miss him. "

03 November 2009

The subtraction and it's option

Robert called me and said "I thought you'd still be up." I explain why I go to bed at ridiculously early hours. He asks "Isn't it only 9:30 out there?" I say I have to assume he's right because my clock is in binary. He finds this odd. I explain that when your clock says this...


My clock says this...


We talk and I go back to bed. I get up to take a picture of my clock and send it to Robert. He texts me back. "You're crazy." I already knew that.

But maybe not. After all, we teach all of our children how to read roman numerals. It's not crazy, but a different way of looking at counting. A new perspective.

I consider the other new perspective I have in life. I now have to live in a world without Nate in it. I ponder this with sadness. Often times I think about how much I would rather live in a world with Nate in it. What would I give for this world?

I imagined one scenario on the way to work this morning. A man came to me and said "Nate will be alive and well and readily available to all who want and need him. The price is that you will be homeless and destitute for the rest of your own life." I reply to the man, "What a terrific bargain!" To trade the finite things one has for someone to be alive is a small price to pay. Unfortunately, no man has made such bargain with me.

Binary to me is another perspective on life. The shock of Nate being gone is also another perspective on life, but totally the opposite. Binary makes me happy. It's another dimension added to my life. It gives me contentment. Nate being gone makes me sad. It is a dimension subtracted from my life. It gives me grief. Grief is the gap between desire and lack of that desire. My will says Nate should be alive, but that is not my reality.

One thing all of my friends and family bereaved by the loss of Nate can agree on is that we have not fully lost him. We all feel that Nate is around us. Not in our preferred form, but watching over us somehow. Still the same good soul we knew him, but not in the exact way we knew him. Protective of his friends to the point where he refuses to leave us behind even in death. It is this part that is left behind that brings me to my conclusion. My choice in an option.

An option is where we choose to walk down one path instead of another in the wood of life.

Sadly, and much against my will, Nate has been subtracted from my life. From the lives of all who knew him. However, I can't change this. And yet, I feel an urge that I believe is an urge from Nate. To attempt, as best I can, to accept this loss and to move forward. To live. It is very difficult to understand this strange new world. At first I felt guilty about being alive. How unfair that I continued on, but Nate didn't. I felt I was insulting him. But that part of Nate that I feel, the part that lingers on shows me I am doing quite the opposite by living. Nate was very much in love with life. I was fond of his MySpace quote. It was a Kurt Vonnegut quote about living as close to the edge as possible without going over. Nate was quite good at that I think. So to not live my life is what is truly the insult to Nate. For a man who understood the importance of all the wonderful things one could experience in life, to lock myself away would be the greatest insult to him I could find.

So, in memory of Nate. To honor him. Because he inspires me....I choose to not only live my life, but to try and make it a tad fuller.

I know in my heart of hearts, this is more than what Nate wants. It is what he cheers for his beloved to do.

I will do my best sir. I will do my best.

All about the flavor

It was only a matter of time before I posted this.

If you asked me I couldn't tell you the location, but I remember seeing Nate and he appeared to be smoking. I noticed that when he exhaled there was no smoke coming out of his mouth. I took a closer look and he was smoking candy cigarettes. I remember him looking at me and saying “It's all about the flavor.”