On a crunchy morning a couple of days ago we went to visit a very dear friend who was dying. When Mort first moved into our valley in the fall of 1988, he celebrated his 65th birthday by breaking his leg in a horse accident, so it fell to me to put up his wood and help him along with many of the chores until he was able to move on his own again.
Mort lived in our valley on two separate occasions, the second time in the original cabin on our property. He had many, many chickens, a pot-bellied escape artist goat named Charlie, Nick the spitting llama, two dogs—a three legged sweetie called Cactus who was fast friends with Bones, a cadaverous redbone hound. The little cats, Thelma and Louise, were in contrast to the giants Jake and Jimmy; Belgian draft horses weighing in at a ton each.
As you can imagine, Mort’s menagerie was a constant source of entertainment and untold adventures over the years.
Now it is the spring of 2013. The menagerie has long since disappeared, each member passing on in its own distinctive way. Some went to cougars and coyotes, some to winter’s cold hand, some to old age. They are all gone now.
When we visited him on Thursday, Mort was drifting in and out of this reality. For a few moments the old sparkle would blaze through the half closed eyes, his sense of humour would rise, commenting “See what happens when you don’t lock your doors? Guys like you can just walk right in!” At other moments, he would engage in personal conversations with people only he could see and hear.
Spring is a time of energy flows, vortices winding and unwinding, sliding, shifting, replacement of the old by the eternal new –itself a recycled reality from the stars. Simultaneously old, young, new, transmuted, unknowable all things at all times.
So it has come to pass with Mort. He has had his last spring in this plane. This morning was his time of passage into the great Chilcotin in the sky, perhaps to collect yet another menagerie.
May he ride in peace through the open spaces he loved.
We will miss him terribly.