Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To the Earth

Don Anderson was my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband. He was a quiet guy, especially around chatterboxes like my husband and me. Unlike most introverts he didn’t seem to mind the racket too much. I was grateful for that.
Picture Postcard Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

He was an environmental engineer and was passionate about land use and water use. He liked skiing and hiking. He loved the mountains and lake near his home in Colorado.

He loved trains, too. For a long time he had a collection of working scale model trains. When we visited them, we would duck into the Train Room and watched the marvel of the Iron Horse set up in a world of its own.

Wine was another passion of his. He had a marvelous collection and was happy to share. We agreed about Navarro Winery being a marvelous place in a marvelous setting in the Anderson Valley, not named for him. It’s in a valley with mountain views, mountains not quite so tall as his Colorado mountains but no less colorful and relaxing and joyous and dreamy.

He was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, underwent treatment that devastated his speaking ability and took away his ability to enjoy wine. He was learning to live with the compromise that was his new life. It took a tremendous amount of help from my sister.

When the doctors said he needed to live at a lower altitude to help his breathing, he rented a furnished house in the woods about an hour away from us in California. It was a place in the trees just above the fogline, a place where you could count the stars in the sky on a good night. He drove to spend Christmas with us. We met Don and my sister for a wonderful dinner at a terrific restaurant. Don couldn’t eat because of the swallowing thing, the feeding tube, but we talked anyway and enjoyed his company.

And then he called for help. And all in a rush, he went to the Emergency Room, then came to stay with us, my sister flew here, we went for opinions, then the Emergency Room here, then the hospital and then Don was gone. It was just like that.

I miss the quiet guy who tried to make the earth better, the Page of Pentacles, the student of the earth and the real consequences of man’s changes upon it. I wanted to thank him for loving my sister, for serving me wine, for carefully chosen, if spare, words. I was glad we had a dog he could pet when his own dogs were in Colorado, too far away. I was glad we could be there for him in some small way. I know he will return to the mountains he loved, to the earth he tried to help for all of us. His ticket has been paid for and he is all aboard.

Best wishes.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely tribute. He sounds like a remarkable man. My condolences to you and your family.