Today, I learned of the passing of Jeanne Robinson. As in Jeanne Robinson, wife, partner, friend, teacher—and very clearly soulmate—of author Spider Robinson. These two loved one another so much I cannot help but cry some.
When I met the two of them for the first time, at a Blues Festival in Canada to see Amos Garrett, I had no idea what to expect. Spider is the author of Callahan’s Cross-time Saloon. It is one of science fiction’s most well-loved epic canon storylines. Comparisons can be positively made to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker trilogy (now six books on), Terry Pratchett’s Discword series, and Robert Heinlein’s Lazarus Long storyline. But beyond this, Spider was the reason I moved back to Key West: In 2001, the outrageous crew of protagonists in one fell swoop up and leave Long Island, NY and move to Key West. After being away most of my adult life, so did I.
In Canada when we met in 2003, if anything, I was expecting eccentric or genius. What I got upon arrival was Jeanne and Spider sitting on a bed together in their hotel room and a space filled with radiating love. “We’ve been together for 30 years,” Jeanny explained, “It gets really good.”
Within an hour or so, I realized I was witnessing something fantastic. It had to do with reality. It had to do with possibilities. And most noteworthy, it had to do with love.
After our first meeting, I had the opportunity to meet with the two of them again and again. Each time it was the same only better. Jeanne explained remarkable stories of Buddhist practice and of dance. Spider explained his relationship with writing and with Macintosh computers. The culmination of our times together was a visit to their home on Bowen Island. From them, I just learned and learned and learned. They regularly filled each others sentences. It was a beautiful day, Canadian overcast, misty, perfect. I left feeling charged.
That Jeanne was the Buddhist brings a smile to my face because of all the lessons I learned from Spider! Though I have not spoke with him since leaving Canada, his teachings continue to serve me well. I regularly learn from my times with the two of them still. I am sure I have more to learn to come.
So when I learned of Jeanne’s passing by reading Spider’s blog, I cried and I am still crying. I cry for the two of them seemingly being apart from one another. Yet at the same time, I saw that love. Love such as theirs’ knows no distance or separation. It is one single, integral, phenomenon.
So I know Spider knows this. I only hope he can find it in him to file a report on our Callahan crew yet another time while Jeanne is off stardancing, awaiting his return. God Bless, Jeanne and Spider. Love you both. How else could I?