lost or found.

Hi, Jim:

It's been too long and now is a shameful time to realize that; now that you've up and vanished, without a word as to where you've gone or whether you intend to return.  Sounds like you've had your legs kicked out from under you as of late and your spirits and resolve have fallen down too.

I feel you there.

You don't need me to tell you that life is hard.  You don't need me to tell you that sometimes it's too much.  Or seems so.

Man, do I ever feel you there.

I remember you joking on a run that "the struggle is real" and is....it...ever.  I am not immune to the darkness.  It's crept in, terrifyingly so, on two separate occasions in the last 9 months alone, and, as you and I both know, that despair is all too real.

So, it sounds like you and I both "get it" in terms of being out on that ledge and having to come to some conclusion as to what to do about it.  To stare into that darkness and wallow in it or take some action, some step back towards the light.  And it seems to me that this is something we probably would have benefited from commiserating over.  You know, like together, not separately and alone.  That's how commiseration works.

Because now I'm floundering blindly in the woods, day after day, calling out your name, calling out my own name so you know who is calling yours, and listening to both names dissolve into the canopy without a reply.

Which really, really, really sucks.

I don't mean to judge you, but I'm worried you made the wrong call on this one.  We all crave, no, we all need some time away.  Some solitude.  Some just-please-no-more-noise-just-this-one-time time to ourselves.  We deserve it.  We're entitled to it.  But the people we love, the people who love us, the people we've committed to and who have committed to us, they also deserve to be told, in some fashion, that we're taking some of that time away even if we can't say how much time that's going to be.

My heart breaks that your heart may have broken, that it may have been breaking or broken for quite some time. My heart breaks to think of how many other hearts are now breaking even as those...hearts...don't...know...exactly why they're breaking or if and how to move on.

You are loved, Jim.  By people that I know you love.  By people you might not even know love you.  And where there is love there is forgiveness even if it's a forgiveness hard won.

But not knowing is intolerable and unacceptable.

Which is why I'm pretty pissed at you.  And pissed at myself too.

In being stubbornly determined to be so damned strong, we men are preposterously weak.  Sorry, Jim, but you are weak.  Weak like me and weak like every other "him" out there trying to go it alone, muscle through, man up, only to crumble beneath the unrealistic weight.  Alone, only because we choose to go it that way or because we've bought into the myth that we need to be able to handle it without any cracks in the exterior, help from anyone else, or any show of vulnerability.

And that bullshit myth is all too often bolstered and braced by an utter lack of vulnerable hands or reassuring words being extended our way until it's too late and we've already cracked, already crumbled.  Sure, we're first in line for rescues and search parties, but there'll be no crying on these broad shoulders until then.

You've been radio silent on social media for weeks.  Truant from the trail.  I didn't call or text.  Honestly and embarrassingly, I didn't even notice.  But how could I, being so busy manning up myself?  Going it alone.  And failing.  Not calling, not texting, not picking up on a friend's cracking and crumbling.

Not calling until now.


In the middle of a seemingly endless sea of ferns, blowdowns, sunstreams, and birdsong.  And an absence of you.

I hope with every fiber of my being that you're ok, Jim.

I hope with every fiber of my being that if you're not ok, and you're out there, and you're needing to be found, that we find you.

I hope with every fiber of my being that if you've fallen and perished, that we find your body, and bring it and closure home to your distraught family.  I do.

And I also hope with every fiber of my being that if you are out there NOT wanting to be found and NOT needing to be found, that you formulate some way to convey that to the people who love you who can then help convey that to the multitude of acquaintances and well-wishers that want you found even if they barely know you or don't know you at all.

So we can all stop crying out in vain, stop leaning plaintively into the hollow sound of our own grieving voices, and can begin broken hearts healing and start learning from this day forward to be more open, vulnerable, perceptive, and proactive in reaching out to offer help and to ask for help when we need it.

I love you, Jimmy.



  1. Hey Leon, I could not possibly add anything to your most eloquent and heartfelt letter to Jim. I only had the pleasure of running with Jim once;however, he left quite an impression on me as a kind, considerate person. I as you and so many others hope and pray for his safe return....soon. He is so blessed to have a friend like you Leon.
    Bill Lawrence

  2. What an excellent letter. You, Sir, are a great friend to Jim and an inspiring and enlightening person even to those you do not know. Thank you!

  3. Raw real and heartfelt. Praying.

  4. My heart is breaking for you, his family, and friends.

  5. You don’t know me, but my heart just broke. I am part of group on FB and this showed up in my feed today. My deepest sympathies go out to all of Jimmy’s friends and family. May God hold him in his arms. I think this post saved me, Leon. It’s a bad time for me, too. I’ve been contemplating that wrong choice for a couple days. I think you just changed my mind. Thank you. I just have no words. God bless you all. -

    1. I may not know you, but I know that you are loved and I know that the lives of others who love you will NOT be better without you in them. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, thank you for BEING HERE today to read and to share. My e-mail address is thisbeesknees@yahoo.com and I want you to feel free to reach out to me anytime at all, whether you're feeling lost or feeling very much found. You matter to me. You matter, period. Do glad.

  6. Blessings to you L.L. .. thank you for sharing every bit of this ��

    I think of our sole encounter often, and remain eager for the next.

    Until then, be well and keep on doin’ glad ����

  7. Cheers to that...Team El Vaquero for life! ;)

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