thinair Boulder, Colorado. elevation 5400 feet.

Somber Sunshine

In early August 2001, Sarah went back to Maine to celebrate her brother's birthday as she often does. Meg, her very good friend from high school was also visiting. In addition to her aunts and their families and her grandparents, Sarah's got many surrogate parents in Maine -- mostly her Mom's good friends. That Summer, Sarah and I had been talking about marriage. As it happens Meg and Joe had been too. Largely on Meg's initiative, Sarah and Meg conducted a fairly thorough survey of Sarah's extended family and surrogate parents about marriage. She came back with all sorts of advice and perspective. We kept talking, with much more perspective, but she was really no more decided about the issue than before.

At 7:03am MDT on September 11, 2001 United Airlines flight 175 hit the south tower of the World Trade Center -- self-evident proof that this atrocity was no accident.

That evening we were cuddling on the couch in fairly stunned silence. At some point I said "Well, we've talked about pretty much everything except death."

"Okay," Sarah replied, "what about death?"

"Well..." I really couldn't think of very much to say. "I am five years older than you. ... And a man. If we do get married and it turns out to be until death do us part, odds are pretty good that I'll be the first to die." As I remember it now, we sat again in silence for quite a while.

Finally Sarah replied: "I don't want to wait any longer to start our life together."

I get to enjoy that ray of sunshine on this gloomy day. Maybe even for the rest of my life.