Life and times of Jim Gavuzzi

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lightning storm

From: jan richman
Date: 10/12/01
Time: 9:46:51 PM
Remote Name:


I remember when I first realized as a child that there are a finite amount of sunsets that a person can witness in this life. And I still think about it: when Iím sitting in front of the TV watching a rerun of ďFriendsĒ instead of opening the blinds and gazing out upon the encroaching dusk, Iím actually throwing away one of my limited and unredeemable chances. I figure Jim had 14,672 sunsets. Each one was unique and gorgeous, whether veined with glowing orange clouds, overrun with herds of puffy pink appaloosas, or simply overcast and mum like a cataracted eye that perceives only light and shadow.

Lives may be measured out in moments, countable and quantifiable, but inside each moment is a whorling world of beauty and wisdom and experience that defies calculation.

One night in 1980, during a run-of-the-mill drunken party at our rented, moldy student beach pad on the Balboa peninsula, a thunderstorm broke out. For some reason Jim and I in our infinite wisdom decided to run outside into it and down to the beach, where we climbed up onto one of the deserted lifeguard towers. From that vantage point, dripping wet and thoroughly tanked on rum and diet cokes, we watched the most spectacular lightning show Iíve ever seen. The bright spiderwebs of light broke out across the enormous palette of sky, relentless in their coming, to a soundtrack of almost constant booming that sounded like a giant was marching down the wide strand of seashore toward us. The lightning bursts were huge and ingenious, cracking the blackness in a different spot each time, so that we were riveted there in the pouring rain for an hour at least, drop-jawed, heads whipping back and forth trying to follow the vast cosmic tennis match.

A couple of years ago I asked Jim if he remembered that night. He didnít even let me finish the question before he answered, ďDuh!Ē He didnít find it at all strange that we would both recall in perfectly lucid detail, despite our sodden state at the time, a certain thunder-and-lightning shower from 20 years before. Jim had an unbelievable capacity, a deep store of beautiful moments -- and an uncanny talent for recognizing the still point at the center of a squall.

Last changed: October 16, 2001