Thursday, July 1, 2010

For Robert Norris

". . . o nobly born,
when thy body and mind
were separating,
thou must have experienced
a glimpse of the Pure Truth,
subtle, sparkling, bright dazzling,
glorious, and radiantly awesome,
in appearance like a mirage
moving across a landscape
in spring-time
in one continuous
stream of vibrations.
Be not daunted thereby,
nor terrified,
nor awed.

That is the radiance
of thine own true nature.

Recognize it."

-- The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The day we moved into our new place, the owner, Robert Norris, who had just moved out a day and a half earlier, died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was only 49.

Although I had only met Bob in March, I had gotten to know him over the last month while visiting daily to care for the huskies, who had lived at the new place before we did. As I did kennel chores, Bob would come chat with me about various things. Sometimes he would lay underneath the three apple trees by the kennels just looking up at the sky.

But often, Bob was riding atop his old, orange Kubota tractor, which was his baby.

He died so suddenly, that Kubota was still here, along with several lawn mowers, farming equipment, and some personal belongings.

News of Bob's passing has rattled me, and shaded the celebration of moving to the new ranch. He was extremely generous to us in the short time I knew him, donating all of the fence used to build the new kennels.

The first night in the new ranch, there was a great thunderstorm. I couldn't sleep. It was Sunday, June 27. I didn't know yet that he had died just hours before.

The next night, I couldn't sleep because I kept thinking of his untimely death. I began to cry and got up out of bed. I wandered bleary-eyed into the kitchen, flipped on the light, and there on the counter was Bob's cat. It roamed freely through the cat door and was often out prowling the seven acre plot.

It startled me, meowing for food.

I sniffed, and stared in disbelief. Bob's cat.

I fed it, and it ate voraciously. Then it left through the cat door. I haven't seen it since.

Rest in sweet, sweet peace, Bob. May you ride your Kubota into eternity, my friend.

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