The space we leave behind


The house is mercifully warm against the chill November night. I am greeted with warm hugs from David and Evan. Welcome home.

Dinner is simple, grassfed beef with onion and garlic, wild rice pilaf, braised fennel ragu.  David is a good cook. 

We recall stories of Zach’s performances. I listen, listen, listen. I share some of the dreams I’ve had, and realize in the last one, both David and Evan were there, just like now, in this kitchen.

Then David shares premonitions that Zach had, how he seemed to know what was coming.  “Perhaps it was his time to move along to the next realm.”. Like he could do more from the other side. Zach had an interpretation that he’d receive a big inheritance soon.

“The foundation has a pledge from David Ogden Stires”, David says. One of Zach’s fans of his busking on the bayfront. The foundation will promote music for youth.

We talk on into the night.  I am invited to stay over, and sleep on the couch, where I dream of Zach again.  Breakfast of curried eggs (good!) and more stories. We are keeping Zach alive, in this moment.  David has his upbeat persona, but I also feel the pain of his loss.  He tells me how Zach had mastered being the man on the mic, how he worked over the husbands with their trophy wives, sold CDs through long romantic waltzes.  A master performer.

I bid David farewell and know I will be back, often.  I roll down the hill, over the bridge and set up my tent.  It is sunny, but I’m too cold to ride down to Yachats.  I don’t feel the spirit.  Instead I head back over the bridge, down to the bayfront.  I talk a long time with Hovey at the Coffee House, then head up the bay.

I find myself at the little square where Zach used to busk.  Brick square waiting for his tapping foot, his blazing bow, his brilliant smile, his sparkling gaze.  A master performer.  Tourists instead walk through the space, not knowing what is missing here. The amazing fiddler who is no longer here to entertain, to inspire young performers, to brighten the cloudy days and stormy moods.

But in the space he left behind, in my heart, in so many hearts, Zach has left love and joy and inspiration and a fearlessness the face of death.  This I will not forget.  I will strive to carry his spirit forth, as I am certain will everyone he touched.


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