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The Light at My Journey's End

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Monday, September 11th, 2006,
Charlotte, Vermont

I spent yesterday looking out the windows of planes. Looking down on a world I could barely see, feel or touch. For the better part of twelve hours I made the trip from Cortes Island, to Seattle, on to Washington, DC, and then home to Burlington, walking into the door of my home at the stroke of midnight.

Today is a celebration of sunlight, bright green colors, and crystal specks glowing off the lake. This is an amazing place to come back to on a day like today. Well actually it's an amazing place to return to almost any day but today especially. This is a day to decompress, to go slow, to look and listen. A day without phone calls or e-mail. A day to be home.

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The Week After Labor Day

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The expansive time and space of the long Labor Day weekend has faded, almost as if it never happened. Where does the past actually go other than taking up some space somewhere in my mind? I’m 36,000 feet up in the sky generating CO2 emissions that I’ll have to offset. The expansiveness has now moved from my mind to the picture outside my window. The sun just dipped down below the horizon. We aren’t heading West fast enough to keep it in sight as I fly in the late afternoon from Washington DC to Seattle, where I will head out to Cortes Island, off the Vancouver coast, to give a talk at the Hollyhock Institute.

In a few short days I have marched 10 miles in a Global Warming action, met with the head of labor’s largest union, spent 2 ½ days in a Greenpeace Board meeting, and tried to exercise and meditate enough to keep my head in a place that allows me to keep contributing to the creation of a future that my three children will want to live in.

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My Brother Peter Would Have Turned 50 Today.

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My brother Peter would have turned 50 today. There would have been a huge party around the swimming pool of a rented house near the beach. Loud music, beautiful people, too much to drink.

But he didn’t quite make it to 44. He lived his whole life in half the amount of time most of us do. His life was lived as if it were a movie. Everything was dark or in Technicolor, there was never anything in between. He loved it out here by the ocean. Tanning oil (not sunscreen), a beach chair that ensured his feet never touched the sand, beers in coolers, girls in skimpy bathing suits, and more beautiful people.

I never quite qualified as a beautiful person, this was a badge of external honor. You needed to dress just so, party just right, know the people I never seemed interested in knowing.

My brother Peter would have turned 50 today. I am 51. It’s been 6 years since he was there to orchestrate his own party. I now need to party for him. So tonight I will celebrate his birthday almost as he would have wanted it. There won’t be a lot of loud music and we will have to stand in for the beautiful people. But there will be my three children, my wife and assorted members of her family.

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