eriks talivaldis meijers

The first time I met eriks, he was Don Juan. Not Byron's, the Yaqui shaman, Don Juan Matos. He lived across from me on South Washington Street in Bloomington Indiana. My brother has referred to this time and place as our time in the shire. It was a magical, beautiful environment. A great place to be young and idealistic. It was a time to explore who we could be.

The particular day was Halloween. eriks was in costume, natural material, loose fitting clothes, a strange glow to his complexion and a hat with enough brim to give a dramatic effect if he tilted his head down just right and peered up at you. He wasn't just dressed up, he embodied the spirit of someone who had inherited the spiritual teachings of generations who had sought and refined knowledge of the universe. For the years I knew him, he never lost that for me.

He walked across the street to introduce himself because he noticed that albums had started showing up on his front porch. That's a different story, but a brief explanation: by album I mean the vinyl twelve inch kind, this was before compact discs. They don't hold up as well, and ours were starting to skip incessantly. Out of frustration my roommate pitched them out the front door like a frisbee. They were similar to eriks' taste, so he decided to meet his neighbors. Music was central to his life, as it is to mine, so we had plenty of connection. A large portion of my music collection is still on cassette tapes, recorded from his albums, or at least using his equipment.

Groups of people often center around one person. eriks was one of those centers in my life. The people from South Washington Street are my oldest friends. We have spread across the country so we don't talk as much anymore, but we know where we are, and it still matters that we know what each other is doing.

eriks had a T-shirt, plain black, on the back in simple white letters, it said "GOD". Not everyone could pull that off, but he did. It was not a claim of ultimate knowledge, strength or intelligence, more of a claim of connection to everything that is. The all-knowing all-powerful God is a leftover concept from Greek mythology anyway. eriks was relating to the more universally accepted monotheism of the modern thinker. That God that said, "I am that I am" to Moses, the one that Jesus said we could all know, that which Lao Tzu said was formless, standing alone and undergoing no change and Seyyed Nasr said contained the possibility of all things.

As it happens for some people who are filled with so much energy, one life, one body, is not enough to contain it. He lived a full life, but it was shorter than most. Whatever it was that he came here to accomplish, perhaps that work was best continued wherever he is now.