|Black Swallowtail nectering on Musk Thistle.|
Bright sun this morning, and already 86˚F. A welcome change, though the day's forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers. Which will probably happen as there's a gusty shifting to the wind, which my seat-of-the-pants Ohio weather experience says is typically a harbinger of soon to come storms.
I'm thinking of taking a long drive. I have no real destination in mind…just somewhere out in the country, away from here, following the friendly backroads by whim and fancy. Aimless vehicular wandering. Escape.
I need to get away. Last night I learned an old friend and fellow writer died a couple of weeks ago. His passing had been reported by various news outlets and media sites, yet I somehow missed it. Complications following a stroke was the given cause. Though he was a few years my senior, he was still too young—too vital. Or so we always like to tell ourselves; death pays no mind to such trivial considerations.
This is a fellow who roamed the world in search of adventure, wrote dozens of books, thousands of magazine articles and columns. A guy I admired and respected, whom I've known for more than three decades. A man of quite honor, a gentleman, and something of a mentor. From the moment we met in a hotel elevator in Macon, Georgia, he treated me as an equal, though I was just starting out in the business and he was already at the peak of the profession—widely published, avidly sought by top editors.
Yet we hit it off immediately. Kindred spirits. We shared a passion for fishing, book collecting, photography, and rattling around two-tracks through the remote jackpine wilds of the upper Great Lakes. A few weeks later he called and asked if I'd do research for a regional section of a book on mayflies he was authoring. Later, when I delivered my material, he and his wife insisted I stay a few days as their house guest. I've never been treated better or made to feel more welcome. And it proved to be only the first of a number of similar extended visits.
Over the years we talked regularly by phone, exchanged letters and books, traded tips on writing and photography and various publishing issues. We fished together. And we got to know one another on a deeply personal level. Genuine friends. Which makes it so inexplicable why, over the last decade or so, we somehow lost touch, drifted our own ways. He retired, I had some health issues…but still?
All I know is that I'm deeply saddened by my old pal's unexpected and untimely passing. And I truly miss him.