Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A world of difference

When I think, in an abstract way, that I'll never see a friend again, I am saddened by it. But that's a whole world away from knowing that I'll never see them again because they've suddenly ceased to exist. And Rosario has ceased to exist; I find it very hard to wrap my mind around it.

The obit in the Oregonian came out today. I found it terribly disappointing -- it hardly touched on some of the more unique things that he had done. For example, for years he worked as a translator at various Dunhuang studies conferences out at Dunhuang, the oasis town on the edge of the Taklamakan desert where the northern and southern silk roads diverged/converged. He had access to the top scholars who studied the Buddhist caves, murals, and frescos at these oasis towns, and had been invited back year after year to translate for them.

When we went to China with him in 2000, his connection to the place and people got us into caves that were not open to the public. I am very sad that I couldn't go on that early morning hike out into the desert with him while we were there; I had gotten sick, and I was so disappointed that I couldn't go. He told me, "don't worry about it, we'll go back again someday." More than once, we fantasized about making the complete silk road trip from Xian to Venice.

I hadn't planned on speaking at his memorial service, which is tomorrow at the Chinese Garden. But Willow asked me specifically if I would, and I said yes. So I spent a bit of time preparing for it this afternoon -- it's pretty short, just a couple of minutes. I hope it will be sweet as well. He was one of those people who enriched the lives of those around him, in a very serious way. I don't just mean that he was fun to visit with, or have lunch with, but rather he made big efforts to have an impact on people's lives by making things happen. I will miss him.

On other happier, at least less sad, fronts -- Rebecca was finally ready for the changes for their tree house site, so I worked on that. Made more changes to my own site too, to add Portland Open Studios information, including a paypal button so people can buy the tour guides/calendar off the web site.

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