Written Monday December 20, 2010.
Sandra texted me last night as I was driving; called me this morning. When I saw her text I knew.
I spent the drive up from Martin thinking about your nickname.
Before this fall I'd never had a nickname for you. We joked about it a couple of times—really, four letters is just about as short as a name gets.
But soon or late, I give most people who are important to me a name—most often one that's arcane. One that names them—names that which makes them who they are. Becky the Pirate [Seanachaidh, Storyteller] and Marie [Suryakanta, Beloved of the Sun], amongst others, can testify to that.
Your name, though—it eluded me. Eluded me for more than 20 years. Should it be based on your acting, or your art, or your music...?
Then you told me about why you'd been sick.
And suddenly naming you was simple.
Nakshatra, I told you. Nakshatra, the light of the eternal stars: The light which shall not fade.
Of course it was an attempt at magic, magic of the only kind I know. Of course it was. Of course I did it to keep you. To hold you here. To tie you so firmly to this earth you blessed that nothing and no one, no force extant or imagined or invented, could ever rip you away.
But my magic, like Schmendrick the Magician's, seldom tames itself to my hand. And like Schmendrick, I am a fool. Foolish. Grasping and foolish and hopeless.
How can any magic tie down the wind?
Because that's what I sought to do. Like noosing the wind, like reining a storm of light—like a normal mortal seeking to lasso Pegasus. Pegasus, creator of the fountain of the Muses—or Bucephalus, destined only to be ridden by the King of the World—magnificent steeds, untrammeled and untameable.
You, like the legends, owned a grace and power and surety—in acting, in music, in writing, in art— that never missed a stride...and, like Secretariat in the Derby, a swiftness that ensured that you ran your own race far, far ahead of the rest of the field.
But you worked your truest magic on those of us who ran with you.
You shed luminance as you ran, like a silver sparkler: coruscating, incandescent, the point of your ignition blinding. But no thoroughbred, no cascade of sparks could have created the torrent of light through air that your every stride did. It surrounded you, pouring from you, swirling from you as color from ink blooms through water: Luminance, fierce and passionate and exultant. Light made visible in naked air.
How could it be otherwise, when you burned so very bright?
And what that liquid flame touched kindled into clarity. Became easier to see, to understand. Became more lucid, more recognizable, more truly itself. Became more.
That was your magic. The surging whorls of light which poured off you quickened the field. Quickened all of us running behind you. We saw it, bathed in it, felt it lift us—felt ourselves become more intent, more fleet, more graceful. More beautiful. More exalted.
Felt your radiance make us more.
So my enduring foolishness cannot possibly be your fault.
Nakshatra, I told you. The light of the eternal stars.
As if starlight or eternity could ever have been adequate to capture or hold one such as you.