My aunt called from India last night to tell me that a childhood friend (who I spent a LOT of time from age 10-15) died suddenly. Though I had pretty much lost contact with him in the last twenty years, he lived 3 houses down from the house I grew up in (and where my grand-parents and other family still live) and so I did meet him a few times since then when I visited family. He's married to a good friend of my sister's (also a neighbor of ours). So, it is with grief that I received the news of his early passing yesterday.  I am still in shock and no amount of music and poetry since I got the news has helped assuage this heavy weight I feel on my chest.

RIP, N. V. You'll be missed. 39 is no age to go. :(

We sit behind
Closed windows, bolted doors,
Unsure and ill at ease
While the loose, untidy wind,
Making an almost human sound, pours
Through the open chambers of the trees.
We cannot take ourselves or what belongs
To us for granted.

...

We do not feel protected
By the walls, nor can we hide
Before the duplicating presence
Of their mirrors, pretending we are the ones who stare
From the other side, collected
In the glassy air.
A cold we never knew invades our bones.
We shake as though the storm were going to hurl us down
Against the flat stones
Of our lives. All other nights
Seem pale compared to this, and the brilliant rise
of morning after morning seems unthinkable.

- Mark Strand, Violent Storm