This blog is about the spiritual journey

Presence of a Son, January 17

Today, my son, Chris, would have turned thirty-seven.

In the morning, I bought flowers and put them in a vase that Chris had given. Later, I stepped out for a walk, a glorious January day—windswept and brilliant.

On the walk I talked with Chris, feeling sublimely his presence. I told him that I was on the cusp of change, ready for a new life that would last until the end.

The breeze whispered, it’s time to let go of plans, ambition, and predictability to embrace life’s boundlessness. Time to step boldly into the unknown and be present for when guidance comes—to lay aside grievances and predilections, responding to what is given.  

I thought about Chris in life: his courage, the gentleness and bigness of his love, the setting aside of “should” and shouldn’t” to pursue his dream.

I considered what I’ve always wanted. When may anticipation or expectation disappear, leaving behind life’s essence?

Surrounded by a January beauty I couldn’t contain, I heard: It’s yours for the taking, with only this moment as ground.

Happy birthday, Chris. Though you live beyond reach, your presence abounds.


Chris died in a rock climbing accident in Yosemite National Park in 2003. The following is an excerpt from my book, Freedom to Fall.

“I am going to live the free life,” Chris told friends on his last trip. He was an outdoorsman. He recognized his passion and pursued it. He knew he had what it takes. He lived simply, without fanfare. He revered nature. He was keenly observant.

Chris also meant that he was going to live life without a scheme. His life was going to be open-ended. He would go wherever life took him and partake fully in the offerings.

When Chris came to me on the second day after his death, he showed me that there are no divisions—not between life and death, being and doing, old and young. He showed me his truth. He showed me he was One.

I am going to live the free life. He meant he was going to live life without walls, in the fullness of light. He was at home in himself and at peace with the world.

6 responses

  1. molly diane petrie

    Once again, so beautiful! Tell me, are you serious about “it’s yours for the taking”? I sincerely hope you are exactly where you want to be at all times, enjoying each chapter to it’s fullest. love ya girl Diane

    Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2015 12:00:50 +0000 To:

    January 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    • Thank you, Diane and thanks for the words of encouragement!

      January 19, 2015 at 3:14 am

  2. So beautiful…Happy birthday Chris…Carol, your words paint such a glorious illustration of Chris and his eternal presence. Thank you…

    February 1, 2015 at 2:48 am

    • Thank you, Daphne. Your words mean a lot.

      February 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

  3. Carol, I just read your post entitled, “Mystical Beginnings”. It was sent to my e-mail on March 30, 2015 but I cannot find it on your blog site. I wanted to comment that I do believe your son’s spirit led you to Costa Rica. We live in a wonderfully small world.

    April 10, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    • Thank you, Janet. I like how describe the world as wonderfully small. I’ve always been comforted by Chris’s presence.

      April 11, 2015 at 3:26 pm

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