This is a love story… of one wonderful woman and her love for....
Anyone who knew Tamara knew that pets and animals were second to none, certainly not mere humans. But despite me being human, we were both, we STILL are, deeply in love.
Tamara and I met in 1993 on a steamy Sept. night in Miami at a news business dinner where Dan Rather scaled TV News for pandering… how much worse it is now... he said: "we should all be ashamed of what we've done and have not done, measured against what we could do"
The thing is, Tamara did, DO... and did a lot.
She was a passionate political activist - we campaigned and manned the polling booth in deep Republican Carbon county Montana… no one understood why we were there but after we baked cookies everyone was nice, if politically distant.
As an environmental champion, Tamara won a prestigious journalism award for a series on climate change and fought every day to cover the stories that mattered. With our rapidly warming planet we now know how much those stories matter. She was ahead of her time.
And as a fighter and lover of all animals she took in abandoned pets, Milo, Pixel, her trusted companion for 22 years, and Ted, a loving cat with three legs and full-blown AIDS. She gave generously to wildlife programs, and even moved to Montana to study the wolves and their reintroduction to their natural habitat of Yellowstone.
Coyotes were her spirit animal,and as Milo and I were walking last night one stood proud to the side of the path as we passed by.
But it was more than doing. She connected in a deep way to animals and nature.
We went for walks, often with Milo. The beauty and magnificence defying labels. We felt nature. We were in the moment. As she would say “slow down and smell the flowers” and watch the moon rise. There was rarely a full moon we would miss. (The program cover is the moon rising above the Topa Topa seen from our house.) How wonderful and precious is everything. How spectacular is Mother Nature.
Yet she somehow found time to love me……….
and go to what seemed like every Neil Young concert.
After 20 years apart we found each other in 2014 both unattached. The flame of love never died and we both knew we would build a lasting love for life.
Tamara’s life was far, far too short, but we packed a lot of life and love into those fantastic 2,400 days.
I have the receipt from our visit to the Getty Center on our first day back together in 2014, and I have the pictures and memories from our last hike above the Rogue River - day 2,400!
There are the innumerable Neil concert trips which we conveniently made into vacations… admittedly too often to odd places at the wrong time of year, but we loved the travel, the places and the music.
Minneapolis... during the polar vortex where we drove sideways, blinded by the freezing snow in a pitiful Prius to that powerful storm.
Fresno in the heat of summer. (A place I heard described the other day as the armpit of CA. If any of you are from there I can definitely say Tamara and I liked your city. Admittedly she always had a taste for the edgy side of town.)
Detroit... She had worked there as a reporter in the 1990s and we visited old haunts and witnessed a re-emerging city.
Belfast… where I was a cub reporter during the troubles of the 1980s.
Amsterdam and Paris also made the roster. There is nothing too shabby about those cities.
And for the Neil Young aficionados among us we also went to the last two Bridge School concerts.
Tamara also lived her love of nature through hiking and we got to hike many wonderful places: Hawaii, New Zealand - where I proposed and she gave me my greenstone that I’ve worn every day since - Australia, England, Wales and Ireland. The Basque country in Spain, where we eat magnificently. France, Portugal, and many places around our beautiful country, including the middle of Wyoming in August 2017 to watch the total solar eclipse.
And of course we lived just outside Yellowstone much of the year where we hiked often.
Our life, split between Ojai and Red Lodge, was wonderful.
Ojai - nature and family.
Red Lodge - friends and nature.
She was - she is… my “Cowgirl in the Sand”. (That's a Neil Young song that embodied the essence, the force that is still Tamara and my life with my Montana cowgirl and California beach lover.)
It was all amazing... until it wasn't.
She left the world doing what she loved, being in nature, being with friends.
She left the world a better place, and the people she met better people.
She embodied what Kristamurti said in 1983, down the road a little from here.
“If you lose relationship with nature, you lose relationship with humanity.”
Human life, being one with nature, is a personal belief. One I choose to hold, and to share with everyone here, as it has helped me, and I know it was a strongly held belief of Tamara's.
As it says on the front of your program… Yes, take a look, it’s important. (pause)
Nature is god.
What follows is a riff on an online meme.
If I were a physicist... I would talk to all who are grieving today, about the conservation of energy, so you will understand that Tamara’s energy has not died. It is in you, it is in nature.
If I were a physicist... I would remind Betty of the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy is created in the universe and none is destroyed. I’d want Betty to know that all Tamara’s energy, every vibration, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world.
If I were a physicist... I’d want to tell Don that amid the energies of the cosmos, Tamara gave as good as she got.
If I were a physicist… I’d want to tell her loving sister, Leslie, that all the photons that ever bounced off Tamara's beautiful face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by her wonderful smile, have raced off like children in Milo, Pixel and Ted, and a thousand unnamed animals, their lives forever changed by her for the better.
If I were a physicist… I would tell everyone who is thankfully gathered here, that according to the law of energy conservation, not a bit of Tamara is gone. That the warmth and energy that flowed through Tamara in life is still here, still part of all that we are.
Not as a physicist, but as her partner in love, I tell you simply… to live life in her love of animals and nature, and spread that love.