Today would be Kenneth Alan Grunzweig's 70th birthday. If he had lived to see it. Yesterday was our 25th anniversary. Had he lived to share it with me. My favorite work of anything I have yet written or conceived, remains the memoir dedicated to Ken published by Broadway Books in 2008, simply titled, "The Geography of Love." For that's what it was, the landscape of a relationship. Ours.
Ken's charm and brilliant wit were legendary. His grace and capacity for compassion and loyalty enduring. His life remains a great teacher to the many who knew him, called him friend. I take comfort in the knowledge our children walk a path today he would be proud of. His love of life carried me on. In the same vein that I love to run, the spirit moves forward. I am grateful, every day, for the beautiful life he left me and led me through and to. He is the presence, the faith beneath the wings of my new marriage that lifts us both I believe.
In the ten years since Ken's death, I have grown stronger in my conviction that all is connected, nothing truly lost, memory indelible like a scent in the air. Last night I dreamed a sweet dream of a day with McDuff, my wheaten Scottie dog, gone a year now. A loyal, funny, adoring animal, McDuff was "the true friend." Companion of the early years of grief. Alone on the pine trails, the Scottie and me. Waking from that dream of walking with Duffy, and thinking of Ken, and my mother whose birthday is this Sunday, I realized the only things that ever truly do matter are imprinted on our hearts. We live in our thoughts and our thoughts are a continuous media mix of moment and dream, memory and experience. We have only to know to love.
In honor of our Ken,
A LETTER FROM THE CARIBBEAN
by Barbara Howes
Breezeways in the tropics winnow the air,
Are ajar to its least breath
But hold back, in a feint of architecture,
The boisterous sun
Pouring down upon
The island like a cloudburst. They
Slant to loft air, they curve, they screen
The wind's wild gaiety
Which tosses palm
Branches about like a marshal's plumes.
Within this filtered, latticed
World, where spools of shadow
Form, lift and change,
The triumph of incoming air
Is that it is there,
Cooling and salving us. Louvres,
Trellises, vines -music also-
Shape the arboreal wind, make skeins
Of it, and a maze
To catch shade. The days
Are all variety, blowing;
Aswirl in a perpetual current
Of wind, shadow, sun,
I marvel at the capacity
Which, in some deep pocket
Of my mind, preserves you whole-
As a wind is wind, as the lion-taming
Sun is sun, you are, you stay;
Nothing is lost, nothing has blown away.