Just over a year ago we lost a neighbor and friend who will live on in our hearts as a reminder of what is truely important in life! He taught me a lot in the short amount of time we spent together!
When we moved into a small little village over 15 years ago it was not long before I was hearing things about the hermit who lived on the hill on our road. One day he stopped by and right away I saw this twinkle in his eyes that revealed a very deep soul, although when he opened his mouth it gave way to this series of expletives that made him sound like a pirate! He talked harsh and sharp about some people he knew yet when he spoke about nature and his home and animals his heart opened wide and the words softened with the most tender loving voice and he became passionately fully present and alive!! All that hard exterior hid one of the most present persons I have ever known. He described flowers, insects and animals as though they were his best friends. A spider web would create such awe in him that he could meditate and look at it for hours. Over the years we became friends even though I may have only seen him a couple of times a year, somehow I “got” who he really was from the beginning. He boasted one day when I shared that with him
“Yea, I know, you didn’t pester me” “I don’t have time for visiting. My time is so precious to me.” Paul loved his solitude and I understood that instantly. For the first part of his life he lived “a beatnik life”, as he once said. He shared with me about his childhood that was both painful and hard. Later on in his early adulthood he had many battles to over come both in the outer world and in his soul. In his final years though he found true comfort and peace in his little piece of heaven on the hill. There in the silence of his sanctuary with no electricity or running water he discovered nature and it healed his hardened heart like nothing else could. He also discovered God or “the Master” in his words. We recently laughed remembering our first meeting when he discovered I was spiritual, he laughing boasted “I don’t belief in all that bull shit!” Although I only saw Paul seldom it was not long before I could see he was one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. It was true that he did not follow any religion but what he discovered in his soul transcends any structured faith. His soul burst with a knowing that he could barely only touch with words. His philosophy in life was simple,
“Love your self and seek out the beautiful things in life for therapy. Observe.” “You get knocked down, you step up and take charge and you do it again doing better the next time.” “You have to apply yourself, we all can make it better”
He did just that, his daily living consisted of meticulous gardening and grooming of his tiny paradise. He grew vegtables in his hothouse in the summer, he lovelinly tended to his bee hive for honey and collected eggs from his “girls” with such reverence for his chickens. He described making a stone walk in such a way that it brought tears to my eyes; he wanted his surroundings to reflect the beauty that he now felt inside. He once described to me how he made his bed with such reverence and gratitude that I will never take my bed for granted again. That is Paul’s legacy; he leaves behind an example of living life in the moment and loving every minute! He in every way lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. I asked him to describe himself to me in three words and he said “Excitable little boy” This was the perfect way to sum up who Paul had become.
Paul was aware that his time here on the earth was limited for he had ALS. He had moved in with dear friends who lived down the road from his home. For the most part Paul seemed ready to meet his “Master”. He was at peace with his own life but his one concern that he shared with me was his worry about Mother Earth. In resent years he had purchaced a radio that he powered by little solor panel. He listened to the concerns our environment around the planet. He deeply loves this planet and I suggested to him that maybe that will be his role in heaven. To pray for our earth and be our guardian angel. He smiled and thought that was a wonderful idea. I have no doubt that Paul is doing just that! He finally died in his sleep before the ravages of this disease took too much control. I sense him every day and have no doubt he is guideing and praying for all of us.
I suspect that Saint Francis of Assisi and Paul are fast friends in heaven. Paul you may be gone from this earth but never forgotten!