This summer has been a bit rodeo. I posted here that in late May, the gunblogger community lost a stalwart member, and I lost a personal friend. Although Ray battled some health challenges, our tribe hoped and prayed he would come through them. Alas, it was not to be.
I launched into summer, ready to get much accomplished and to get some rest from school, as well. I was tired, and the gut-punch of losing Ray sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I came down with a flu that lasted two full weeks, topped off with a cough that lingered. The cough hung on until my second annual 50th birthday float on the Guadalupe in late July, but the active time outdoors seemed to clear that up, finally. Floating on weekdays combined with broody, rainy weather to yield an almost deserted river. I felt my feathers smoothing out as I glided down a quiet river under ancient cypress trees swagged with long streamers of Spanish moss. The sun stayed away, mostly, and the temperature remained warm but not hot. Unmolested by shrieking rednecks, myriad turtles sunned themselves on rocks and driftwood, and all manner of birds were to be seen on the river. In one golden moment, we floated past a pair of fawns getting their lunch from their mothers on the bank. It was a moment of pure beauty and happiness. I thought about things, and I felt myself healing.
Laughing and smiling about Ray is feeling more natural now than despair, although my heart aches with his absence. He would call at least once a week during his commute home through Seattle traffic, and we had big plans. We hosted a gathering at the Gingerman in Houston during the NRA convention, and we were looking forward to throwing a soiree at the Dallas NRA in 2018. I miss our talks, and sometimes the phone ringing during that time of day makes me think it's him, for an instant. But it won't be.
Last night the Perseid meteor shower peaked, and I stood outside with friends for a bit, looking at the sky. A bright orange streak burned southward, and thoughts of Ray came rushing to mind. I saw a few more streaks of light before I went in for the evening. I awoke this morning at 5:00, put on some shoes and let the pups out, and I went out, too. I scanned the sky, expecting the meteors to appear at a different point in the sky, when I looked overhead in the same spot of that first orange streak, and there came another orange streak. The fiery ray made its way with purpose and intensity, but unhurried to the southern horizon. It felt like a "hello" from Ray. I was comforted.