I spent the first of January with Kim and Conn, primarily watching a marathon of the Lord of the Rings films. Peter Jackson got a lot wrong, but the spirit is there, and there are some truly amazing and wonderful moments throughout. And it did serve as more than a little bit of inspiration on several levels… one of which I’d like to share with you now.

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf?… See what?

Gandalf: White shores… and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: [smiling] Well, that isn’t so bad.

Gandalf: [softly] No… No it isn’t.

By most accounts I am still a young man, a few years shy of fifty. I’ve lived longer than many of my heroes — Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe for example.

I have never feared death, not now, nor ever. Not my own anyway. I have bid farewell to my fair share of friends and family, and supported those who have felt death’s sting when it has struck so close to home. It’s never easy, but it is a certainty that we all must face.

My son, wise beyond his years, once said to me, “Why do they call it aging? It’s just a nicer way of saying dying.”

We’re all dying, each and every one of us. We have been since the day we were born. There is no prize for living longer than others. It’s not the years that matter but what we do with them while we have them.

That’s where I stand as I look forward, toward Death’s waiting embrace. You may have me, eventually, but until you do I will live and I will love and I will make art and magick until I gasp my last. I will leave a mark upon the people who have known me, with my words and my pictures, and my story.

And when Death comes, I will take her hand and we shall brave that road together, into the vast unknown where the gods and our forefathers dwell.

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