He had that kind of coolness that
only men who swam with sharks could have.
He looked death in the eyes without flinch.
From shark eyes to tiger eyes,
even lions eating fresh kill. Rhinos, warthog eyes,
you name the animal he looked it in the eyes.
He went to every corner of the earth, every temple,
every blown out building, every skipped over land mine.
He met captains of ships, pirates, medicine men, shaman.
If there was one man that knew how to live it was Carl.
He called me Yolanda, as in Yo-Yo-Yolanda!
not because my name is Yolanda,
but because it was fun. He called me 'Baby' too,
as in “Yeahhh Baby!” no matter what was happening,
even if we were eating soup, life was a gift.
Life was happening.
Carl said, “The grim reaper is always on my back.”
He was talking about the cancer.
We got used to it. It was like having a cold,
comes and goes. I didn’t take it too seriously,
but he knew more than I.
I was on a 'need to know' basis.
I didn’t realize I would have to
watch those I love die.
I told him the grim reaper is not judgmental,
that I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and beat him to it.
I couldn’t imagine him going first.
The crying came like a ferocious animal.
I had no idea every song, every leaf on a tree,
every star, every sip of tea, every moon,
every sunrise, every slice of steak,
every going to sleep, every smile,
every laugh - would remind me of him.
You just can’t prepare for that.
* Dedicated to Carl Perron, one of my best friends, kindred spirits, and cohorts in magic.
**All wild life photos taken by Carl.