Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Ian Malczewski

For Rog

It was warm for late October, the moon bright and heavy. From coast to coast, reports burst from beaches transformed into levees by fast-moving backhoes. Photos of empty subway platforms, fortressed storefronts, and slickening sidewalks filled click-hungry feeds. Leave now, they said. This could be The Big One.

But that night, in a home facing the still-placid waters, the chattering screens were dim. If there was wind, it was the gentle breeze of an autumn night. If there was dampness, it was the dew caressing the harbour. It was then, in that unseasonably peaceful place, surrounded by love, that he passed.

It was a moment only he could have chosen. Always able to find the calm in a storm, always able to craft moments of fragile, perfect beauty. I knew him briefly. Only a glimpse, really. But from that glimpse I met a rare being that held the world with soft strength, an egg in granite hands.

Born and nurtured by the north Atlantic, he loved its vastness, its primal power. He understood that loving the ocean meant accepting its occasional tumult, refusing to howl when its roiling stirred the waters beneath him. That same life-force also brought unmatched beauty, adventure, joy.

It was this acceptance that characterized his writing, smothering jagged shards with pillowy softness. His last letters reflected the person I remembered: a man of strength, dignity, and elegance. He maintained these qualities even in the face of serious illness, the greatest storm he’d ever seen. The Big One.

In a world where noise too often overwhelms signal, his voice was a spike of clean clarity. Don’t shout at the storm, and don’t to try to contain it in a cup. That salty sting is just the ocean being the ocean. Instead, set sail, accept the waves when they come, and enjoy the endless expanse of infinite horizon.

I picture him out there now, sitting in a boat, bouncing across playful waves. A pink sunset inspires his pen to move, and with sweet soft words, he stirs the scene into a warm fog. Finished, he closes his eyes, smiles, and breathes in the sea. Finally at rest, at peace.

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