As we travel this Earth in our myriad ways, our common ground may be found in the one journey we all must take. No matter what we may call our final destination, we all lay our bodies down at last. Our departure from this life and this Earth ripples outward, affecting our loved ones, friends, and even strangers in ways we cannot predict or control. We can only pray to live fully, and to love well, and let that be our legacy of our time here.

Dan Bickford, the partner of our beloved New England Bundlekeeper, was such a man — one who lived close to the Earth, and as Nicholas Black Elk said, “a relative to all that live…” He and Deborah were together for 35 years of work, play, child-rearing, tears, and laughter. With Dan’s dry wit, there was a lot of laughter. Not one to hold back or beat around the bush, he was a man of simple and straightforward integrity. He could be counted on to tell you what he thought, and to have your back against all odds. Animals knew this, and found him instinctively trustworthy, whether for a guaranteed tidbit under the table, or to give their lives away to help him feed his family. He brought the same wholehearted way of being to his community, and to our Dance — a strong, quiet guardian at the edges, and a steadfast supporter and protector of his wife and the bundle in her charge.

His spirit surrendered his body and began its journey to the Other Side Camp after a difficult battle with cancer. As one who loved the Dance and all that it brought, we know that its power is already sustaining him on his way. Prayers go out to his family and kin, two-legged and four-legged, as they negotiate this shift in their lives.

Of his passing, Deb wrote:

His transition was swift and the outpouring of support brought both relief and gentleness in preparing him on his way. I would like to honor everyone who held us and brought forward an environment of peace and love during this journey. I found myself both crying and laughing today as I hold many good memories of our life together and I know this will feed my soul and help me to move forward. Many blessings to each of you. Happy Trails!