Robert Ott, in loving memory
And so Robert Ott, a dear friend from Santa Fe, has zoomed on. He was always a great adventurer. Cancer became one final exploration, Roberto defying all medical diagnoses to stay with his body as cancer cells burst into its universe.
Robert's main practice was Tibetan Buddhism, perhaps because it's more accessible to white folk than Native American religions. He delved those Native American stories, and walked the spirit of the land. Most memorable of our excursions was a visit to Cerro Pedernal in Northern New Mexico. He knew my affinity with sacred mountains and gifted me this day. We drove off at dawn, his rackety four-by-four surging the dirt tracks till brush blocked the way and we hiked on. Scatched, bleeding, we made it to the summit and honoured the four winds in ceremony. 'You must come three times,' he told me as we bounced the track at the close of day, explaining the law, 'before you bring anyone else here. That is how it is done.' And I understood just something of how serious a commitment to sacred mountains might be.
Georgia O'Keefe's ashes merged with the dust of that mountain, and Robert's will too. As he was dying the week before last, I invited him in to the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney, as the scenery opened up to astound me. I felt him rush right in, sharpening my appreciation. I invited him in again as we turned Rame's Head peninsula in Cornwall yesterday,the Atlantic Ocean stretching out blue before us, and he was there again. He taught me about the Navajo rainbow beings, awestruck at the beauty of this planet, and now he's one with them.