Sunday, September 16, 2012

Message In A Bottle....

Last Sunday was the birthday of a friend who recently passed away. My friends, the Hughes's and I had been trying to figure out a way to celebrate Jason's life and honor his passing. We thought about balloons, but there were none available. Then Allisha had a wonderful idea... why not send messages in a bottle? As soon as she suggested it I knew she had hit upon the perfect way to say both Happy Birthday, and See You Later... (I won't say that it was a goodbye...)

Jason loved the San Rafael Swell and the desert area that surrounds Green River, so we loaded into the Trooper as we'd done so many times before (often with Jason along)... and headed to find a private place to set our thoughts afloat. We traveled from pavement to gravel, to rutted roads searching...mostly choosing the right path as we ventured toward our destination - the river.

After traveling for several miles we found a spot we felt would be a good place to let set our bottle adrift. It was, fittingly, almost directly across from the geyser that John had introduced Jason to a little over a year earlier and which graced the button for his Weekly Kodachrome. (Just another moment that seemed to signal that this was how we were meant to let go...)

We exited the Trooper and set to placing our thoughts on paper, from the littlest among us and up. 

When all present had finished their messages they were rolled and placed carefully into the bottle, ready to be sent on their journey. 

  The note on the bottle read: This bottle is in memory of Jason Zimmerman. Please help keep this bottle going on its mission to reach the ocean. Thank you. Sent on 9/9/12 from Green River, Utah. 
We walked down the incline to the riverbank where we sang Happy Birthday to Jason, then watched as the bottle set sail through the air to land in the flowing river current.

As the bottle grew smaller and smaller to our sight and the sun started its journey toward the western horizon, we turned to make our way from our secluded spot to begin the journey back home.

I couldn't help but think how fitting it was that these messages would travel along the pathway of the river through the desert Jason so loved. I think perhaps he smiled as he watched it make its way toward its final destination.

When we returned to the Hughes' home we decided to have a few of Jason's favorite things for a birthday treat...

- Diet Dr. P (with vanilla - of course) poured over ice from the Chat-n-Chew 
(Otherwise known as the Chow Hound - a local eatery that has awesome ice...)

- Tomato and Basil Wheat Thins
- Peanut Butter M&Ms
and last, but not least
- Doritoes
(Sadly there were no maple bars, Macey's ice cream, or Chunkapoo cookies...perhaps next time...)

I'd like to think that Jason would have approved of the way we honored him on his birthday. I hope he knows how much he is missed and how much he is cared for still.

(* I added a copy of this poem to the messages in the bottle... *)

I look out at a sunset sky
As memories crowd ‘round
A fleeting glance toward the heavens
And still more gather
It seems that this is time
To reminisce
And ponder
I cannot help but wonder
How you are
What you are doing
Who you have met

This I do know
You left us far too soon
Yet your influence lingers still
In the way I view the world
In snippets of song
In capturing a photo
In teaching a child

There are times
I think I hear you whisper
“I am here…
I am well…
I’ll save a place…
Don’t worry…”
In those moments
There is comfort…
Still there is sorrow
Because you are
Not here
And that cannot change
For now              

So until the time comes
When the veil is no longer there
I’ll grieve for a time
Yet I’ll smile
When I remember
Moments spent
In conversation
In laughter
In quiet companionship

For I know
As long as there are
Words to write
Moments to capture
Music to share
A part of you will
Never be gone

- Mindy Durrant
September 9, 2012 – For Jason


  1. Thanks for the recount of the experience. As one who is still searching for the words that may never come, it was great to re-read and "see" what we did.

  2. So awesome Mindy. Knowing Jason, he would have totally appreciated this.

  3. That was absolutely beautiful. I know that little bottle will make it to the sea. =)