December 18th, 2016
Today would have been Ezra’s 43rd birthday. The weather in NYC is the kind he liked the least- wet and unseasonably warm, yesterday’s snow melting into gray city slush. I imagine he would have spent the day in his shop, determined to make something beautiful out of it. In imagining this, I feel his distance. Not his absence, as I have felt so intensely over the last two and half years, but the space-time between then and now, him and me, us and this. I suppose that’s what happens after some number of moons and trips around the sun, especially in relation to a traveller like Ez. But I have struggled to make sense of this particular flavor of pain, much less move through it with any grace.
The other day I saw my friend Marilyn for just a few minutes and she sensed the struggle. She told me that movement and change- whether painful or pleasure-full- are not just facts of life; they are its essence. Trying to fix the flux, avoid the pain, or hoard the pleasure is both futile and crazy-making. Marilyn sent me the book that had recently reminded her of this: The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. I found the following passage especially helpful:
“When … you realize that you live in, that indeed you are this moment now, and no other, that apart from this there is no past and no future, you must relax and taste to the full, whether it be pleasure or pain. At once it becomes obvious why this universe exists, why conscious beings have been produced, why sensitive organs, why space, time, and change. The whole problem of justifying nature, of trying to make life mean something in terms of its future, disappears utterly. Obviously, it all exists for this moment. It is a dance, and when you are dancing you are not intent on getting somewhere… The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music, also, it is fulfilled in each moment of its course.”
This is something I think Ezra understood without the slightest effort. It’s how he lived and died. I’m grateful to have been reminded of this truth and of Ez in its light.
Meanwhile, the dance goes on…
|Oswald Ash (left) and Ezra Alder (right), born on November 2nd, 2016 to dear friends, Caroline and Sarah.|
|Logan Ezra Nanney (with big sister Violet Ryan), born on December 12, 2016 to my brother Tripp and his partner, Leslie.|