This is me and my 93 year old neighbour, Ted. Today was his last day at the house he built with his wife almost 50 years ago. Ted was a mason, a bee keeper, a keeper of his land, and a wise elder. 🐝
I have a smile on my face and what feels like a bowling ball in my throat trying to hold back the tears that so badly want to come out in this picture. Earlier today we spoke of how this not just the end of an era for him, but the last chapter of his life. “I’m tired, Ali” he says to me in his German accent. “I’m ready for a long nap” his eyes twinkling behind his dirty glasses. I tried so hard to keep it together.. to not feel… but I feel such immense love and gratitude for this man. So I surrender and let the tears come. He put his arm around my shoulder and squeezed me then smiled at me. 🌲
He told me he bought this property right after a wheat crop was harvested. What was a blank canvas open prairie field is now a glorious, lush green bird sanctuary. He grew most of the trees from seed or would dig them out of the ditches on the #1 highway. 🦉
We always spoke at length about “our” owls and what they had been up to, and of any recent sightings. In his younger years he had built over 40 wood duck houses on top of the purple marten and bat houses in his yard. He cared deeply for the birds and for the bees. He was a gentle man. 🍅
I told him I would bring him over some tomatoes and veggies from my garden when everything was ripe. “That would be nice, Ali”. He is moving to an assisted living care home with his wife (also well up there in age) They fled nazi Germany and eventually immigrated to Canada in the mid 70’s. 🇨🇦
Over the last month or so he has gifted me 12 Linden tree saplings, beeswax, perennials, magic rocks from his mason days, a steel drum to burn stuff in, rich conversation, and 6 years of friendship. ❤️ “You know I can’t take any of this with me where I’m going.” *wink*
Farewell, medicine man. You are loved and will be missed tremendously.