In Memoriam: Vladimir Brezina

By Johna Till Johnson
Photo credit: Vlad and Johna in drysuits by Larson Harley, NYC Photographer

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.

Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue —
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space –
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr., RCAF (1941)

vlad-smiling-with-paddles-and-bridge

Vlad in the East River

Vladimir Brezina slipped the surly bonds of Earth on December 13, 2016 (though I like to think he still checks in from time to time). Although the tumbling mirth on which his eager craft traveled was waves, not clouds, this poem captures his spirit perfectly. Here is a little more about his remarkable life, and the joy with which he lived it:

Vladimir Brezina was born on June 1, 1958 in the outskirts of Prague. His father, also Vladimir Brezina, was a civil engineer who designed several notable bridges. His mother, Vlasta Brezinova, was a psychiatrist and moved in artistic circles; Vlad had memories of family friends who were well-known artists and writers. (Both parents are now deceased.)

young-vlad-edited

Vlad as a boy in Prague

The family lived in a house (which is still standing) near some woods and a pond, on which he skated in winter. Vlad’s memories of the time were idyllic. He even enjoyed getting punished for his mischief: Apparently his parents would send him to the bathroom for a short “time out”. But the bathroom had a wonderful view and was the warmest room in the house, so it was no hardship—particularly in winter.

Vlad, who was an only child, was close to his extended family. But his comfortable childhood in Prague came to an end when he was 11 years old, when his father took the family on a “vacation” from Czechoslovakia following the Soviet invasion in 1968. Travel into and out of the Soviet-controlled country was becoming difficult, and the time had come for the family to seek its fortunes elsewhere.

Young Vlad waved goodbye to his grandmother as they drove off. He never saw her or his country again.

The family drove through Italy and onward to Libya, where they arrived on August 31, 1969. His father was slated to start a design project, presumably on Monday September 2.

However, on Sunday, September 1, Muammar Gaddafi seized control of the country in a coup d’etat. “Our timing was perfect,” Vlad observed with his characteristic wry humor.

It’s not clear how long the family remained in Libya following the coup, but over the next few years, Vlad lived in Libya and Iraq while his father worked on various projects. The family ultimately settled in the United Kingdom, where they became British citizens, as the Soviets had revoked their citizenship upon departure from Czechoslovakia.

Vlad attended Clifton College, a prestigious boy’s boarding school. At Clifton, Vlad excelled in athletics (he was a rugby player), science, and art. He often told the story of how he re-invigorated the school’s art competition, which his house subsequently won for several years in a row (under his direction), earning him the nickname The Art Fuhrer. Upon graduating from Clifton, Vlad attended Cambridge University (as it was then known) for a year, where he studied art history. He then spent a year at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

young-vlad-at-dan-and-lisas-wedding-cropped

Vlad in graduate school

At some point in that period he held a job picking vegetables for scientific research. He recalled with glee that after the experiments were complete, “You could roast [the experimental subjects] and eat them!” Although the experience piqued his interest in science, he found himself growing tired of the long winters in the UK and Northern Europe.

Enticed partly by the prospect of year-round sunshine, and also by his then-girlfriend, he moved to the United States and enrolled in the University of California San Diego, majoring in biology. He became a US permanent resident in 1983, and adopted America as his home. He ultimately obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA in 1988, with a focus on understanding how small peptides controlled electrical activity in the neurons of the largish marine sea hare, Aplysia californica, which he harvested with great delight from the tidal waters off Los Angeles. His graduate work would set the stage for what became a lifelong effort to understanding how patterns of electrical signaling in complex neurobiological networks controlled behavior.

aplysiaresearchgroup2003

Aplysia research group, Mt. Sinai NYC

Vlad had always intended to settle in New York, which he maintained was the only American city with the right combination of energy and chaos. It had captured his imagination early on, and in short order, the newly minted Dr. Brezina became a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York where he quickly became a card-carrying member of the Aplysia behavioral neurobiology community. In 1990, he joined forces with Klaude Weisz at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, where he rose to the level of associate professor. He remained on the faculty at Mt. Sinai until his death in 2016.

Vlad’s scientific work was both theoretically groundbreaking and experimentally elegant. His area of research was in neuromodulation, which is the way nerves communicate with themselves and with muscles in a constantly changing dynamic process. During his years at Mt. Sinai, he introduced an important new theoretical and experimental concept, that of the neuromuscular transform, which he defined as a sort of ‘filter’ that describes how the activity of motor neurons is converted into a muscle contraction. His critical insight, perhaps deriving initially from his studies on complex mathematical transforms, was that this filter is itself dynamic and nonlinear, rather than static (as some had supposed). Moreover, he demonstrated that this dynamism played an important role in animal learning and behavior, enabling the creature to adapt to an uncertain and ever-changing environment.

Throughout his life, Vlad maintained an avid interest in long-distance, human-powered travel. When he lived in the U.K, he hiked a 100 km trail in the Lake District. The summer he was 16, he made a solo journey by bicycle through France, camping at night by the side of the road for several weeks. During his years in California he was a passionate long-distance hiker.

k-lite-shakedown-cruise-1

The legend begins… Vlad (left) with K-Light

And in New York, in the 1990s, he discovered kayaking.

His first boat was a red Feathercraft K-Light that packed into a backpack weighing a mere 40 pounds. He continued the tradition of red Feathercrafts, getting increasingly larger models that he could pack up and carry on trains and taxis to pursue his adventures. (Sadly, but somehow fittingly, Feathercraft went out of business in December 2016—something Vlad fortunately never knew.)

Vlad quickly became legendary for his knowledge of the New York waterways, and for his feats of endurance in navigating them and others, including New England and later Florida. He discovered many of the now-iconic locations of New York City paddling, including the Yellow Submarine in Brooklyn, the seals on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, and Alice Austen House and the Graveyard of Ships on Staten Island. (It’s impossible to say who was first to see these from a kayak, but Vlad was among the earliest.)

happy-vlad-on-blue-water

At home on the seas

On his excursions, Vlad simply never seemed to get tired. He once completed a combined circumnavigation of Staten Island and Manhattan without leaving his boat for eighteen hours. His explanation for doing so? “I finished the Staten Island circumnavigation and wanted to keep going— and the currents were right for a Manhattan circumnavigation.” He also wrote about a kayak-sailing adventure during which he and a friend covered 100 nautical miles in 22 hours—again without leaving the boat.

One of his favorite trips was a 10-hour journey around the Elizabeth Islands in April 2002, during which he saw a whale. Subsequent adventures included circumnavigating Long Island in nine days in 2012, and the culmination of a long-time dream: Completing the 300-mile Everglades Challenge, a race from Tampa to Key Largo in Florida, in just under eight days in 2014. Fittingly, his “tribe name”—a nickname adopted by each participant in the Everglades Challenge—was Sea Hare, hearkening back to the creature on which he’d focused the majority of his research efforts. Many of his kayaking adventures are chronicled in our blog Wind Against Current.

vlad-and-johna-cropped

Partners in paddling… and life

Vlad also loved contributing his kayaking skills to others’ adventures. He was a longtime supporter of NYCSwim, a group that organized long-distance swims. Vlad served as “kayak support” for many world-class swimmers, several of whom he accompanied on record-setting feats.

Vlad maintained a lifelong love of poetry (with a particular fondness for Yeats and Philip Larkin), and enjoyed and appreciated opera. He also maintained an avid interest in photography all his life. His earliest photos, dating back to when he was a young teenager in the 1970s, demonstrated emotional depth and an elegant sense of detail—traits that characterized his photos in later life. Over several decades he documented his beloved city, New York, as well as his kayaking trips, with unforgettably vivid images.

backlit-flower

Backlit flower, by Vladimir Brezina

Among his blog followers was a group of several dozen photographers, many professionals, who admired his work. Vlad sold a few photographs as book covers and illustrations, but never had any interest in pursuing photography professionally—for him, the work was its own reward.

That attitude was the essence of Vlad, whether in art or science. He often said his defining characteristic was his esthetic sense. Whether paddling, making (or appreciating) art, or conducting science, he always strove always to uncover the eternal and the true. In many respects he lived by Keats’ line “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”

In addition to his esthetic sense, another defining characteristic was his insatiable intellectual curiosity and love of constructive debate.

I first met Vlad in 2009, when we began paddling together. One of our earliest conversations was about the happiness of ducks.

We were paddling a Manhattan circumnavigation in winter, and I’d noticed ducks swimming energetically—and to all appearances cheerfully—in between the blocks of floating ice in the river. “Why are ducks so happy swimming in ice water?” I asked him.

“How do you know they’re happy?” he countered, and we were off on a wide-ranging discussion that included the subjective/objective problem in neuroscience (how can a brain think objectively about itself?), the biology of ducks (apparently they have an entirely separate circulatory system for their legs and feet), and “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” the seminal paper by New York University philosophy professor Thomas Nagel, with which we were both familiar. That conversation lasted the entire six hours of the circumnavigation and continued between us, in various forms, until shortly before his death.

vlad-johna-wedding-eyes-closed

Wedding day, Oct. 17, 2015

I was far from the only one with whom he had such conversations. His former student and subsequent collaborator, Miguel Fribourg, remembers, “The conversation would start discussing a mathematical method, and end up talking about ethics, physics, or Spanish politics.”

Vlad also was deeply, profoundly, and generously, kind. His students remember his love of teaching, a love that came not from ego, but because he was delighted to share ideas with someone. “I will be forever grateful for his generosity and patience in teaching me how to reason, and interpret facts. I also take as a lifelong lesson from him, how to be humble in science and life in general,” says Miguel. Vlad also extended that generosity to the younger generation; for many years, he enjoyed judging science projects for the WAC Invitational Science Fair, at which dozens of Long Island high schools competed.

Vlad had the wonderful talent—which he awakened in me, and many others who were close to him—of appreciating the moment, regardless of what it held. There were of course life’s joyous moments: a breathtaking sunset or star-spangled summer sky; the sound of inspiring music at the opera; and convivial meals with wine, friends, and good food. And when he and I cooked at home, we’d put on music, dance while cooking, and use the fine china and crystal for everyday celebrations.

But Vlad’s genius was not only enjoying these happy moments, but also ones that could have been less than happy. Wind, cold, and rain never fazed him; nor did sweltering nights or water-laden sleeping bags.

I recall once finding ourselves in the dead of night, in below-freezing temperatures, in the custody of puzzled NYPD officers, trying to explain why we and our kayaks were on a beach under the Verrazano Narrows bridge. We quite possibly could have had our kayaks confiscated, and might even have ended up in Rikers Island prison. Instead of being afraid, I realized I was having fun!

There was also the moment, some months after his cancer diagnosis, when we returned home from a particularly harrowing stint in the emergency room. We’d been in the hospital for nearly 40 hours, and as we opened the door to come home, Vlad exclaimed, “Well, that was fun!” And not only did he truly mean it—he was right. It had been fun.

Finally, it’s impossible to write about Vlad without mentioning his ineffably light, witty, gentle sense of humor that often manifested in his characteristic squeaky laugh. His humor relied on clever turns of phrase and occasional goofiness—it was never at the expense of another person. (He loved to mimic expressions and gestures that struck him as entertaining).

smiling-vlad-and-palm-trees

What will survive of us is love —Philip Larkin

I was privileged to be first his paddling partner, then his life partner, and finally his wife (we were married on October 17, 2015). His legacy to me, and to all who knew him, was showing by example how to live in selfless pursuit of truth, beauty, and love—and to enjoy every moment of that life with zest and humor. It will never be the same without him, but what he gave to the world will live on.

78 responses to “In Memoriam: Vladimir Brezina

  1. Deep condolence for you. May God bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Johna, what an extraordinary tribute for your extraordinary Vlad. Thank you for sharing it and him and your kayaking adventures with us, your readers, over the years. You’ve once again brought tears to my eyes. Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks, Babsje. The blog will go on–not the same without him, but it will continue.

      And actually… among his effects I discovered a treasure-trove of kayaking adventures that pre-dated me! So actually, it will go on WITH him, as I slowly work those stories in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Johna. Looking forward to your weaving new posts from that treasure-trove of past kayak adventures in the coming months. I’m sure it will be a true labor of love for you. Best, Babsje

        Liked by 1 person

        • Johna Till Johnson

          And not to flog this particular pony.. there will also be fresh adventures coming shortly! I just wish I had Vlad’s eye for photography. (And, of course, Vlad, but that is not to be…)

          Liked by 1 person

        • When the spring weather makes herself at home there, you will be back on the water or out and about in the city, creating new memories. So, you have about 8 weeks now to get your photographic eye in gear. Speaking of gear, what was that line from Hitchhiker’s Guide, “Always carry a towel?” I would say, Always carry a camera. (If only I remember to do that, myself.) Can’t wait to read some of your new stories. Best, Babsje

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful tribute. Both of your enthusiasm and love of the water has given both my husband and myself to appreciate both life, water, wildlife and adventure. I am surely going to miss Vlad’s writings but I know he’ll be with all of us paddlers enjoying our excursions. God bless him

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful tribute, Johna. I think I sent condolences in a response to an earlier post, but in case I didn’t, I send them now…. I’m glad you are keeping the blog going, it will be a great memorial

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks, Sue! We handed out bound copies of this at his memorial service, but I wanted to share with a broader audience. And yes, you did send condolences… seems a long time ago now! But much appreciated, both then and now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a life, what a man!
    And that was written wonderfully – there was sadness, love and fun and respect exuded.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you, Debbie! Your photo of the Thames at night reminds me that showing me “his” London was something we never got to do… he actually studied art history at Cambridge, and spent a lot of time in museums. Ah well… !

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “High Flight” never fails to touch my heart. I had just written the last line of this poem on another blogger’s post this morning, so it was with a light, but sad heart that I read this. Such a beautiful tribute, Johna. Such a smart man. I know you wrote about what he did, but I did not understand a word of it–yet I loved it! I look forward to the new (and old!) kayak adventures on the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful tribute Johna
    Vladimir has been one of my first follower in this virtual world and also one of my favourite… I always loved its shots.
    Un abbraccio
    Max

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am honored to have “known him” thru the always anticipated, and never disappointing posts in “Wind Against Current.” Between the contributions of yourself and Vlad, my world was expanded in the never disappointing, and interesting adventures, including wonderful descriptions of accessories and planning details. Also, I have been curious always of both yourself and Vlad’s professions endeavors, unmasked a bit above, touching on areas of my own personal interest – from at least a curiosity of science standpoint. Sharing photography as a lifelong ‘casual’ hobby; the interests of New York Harbor and it’s hidden treasures, (I have boated fairly often around Manhattan, Staten Island, and even Long Island – having been initially anointed with the glorious Hudson River low tide muck at Dolan’s Marina, River Edge, in 1956 and familiar with the tugboat graveyard, Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, Sandy Hook and the Jersey Shore,) was underscored by often learning a thing or two from your adventures. (Tomorrow, coincidently, our family is celebrating some birthdays at the Perth Amboy Armory, overlooking the Kill… Some words about you and Vlad are sure to pop up!)
    So Thank you, Johna, for this Memoriam, my sincerest condolences for your loss, and I’ll be looking forward to the continuing “Wind Against Current” posts in the future. Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very well written, a beautiful tribute – changed nothing in my “superficial” view of you and him, by following your blog through the years – entirely sympathetic both – will of course still follow you – take care, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Much love to you. Thank you for sharing this. What a beautiful life.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for writing this wonderful story for all of us to enjoy and learn from!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Julian Pompilio

    Johana, I’m terribly sorry for your loss, Vlad seemed like a truly special person. RIP

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a wonderful tribute! I wish I had known him betterŠ.

    Anna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks, Anna! Me, too :-). And I mean that quite seriously–in researching this, I realized how many things I hadn’t fully known, not because he wanted to keep them secret but because we were always so BUSY.. living, loving, adventuring…

      Like

  14. If only most people could live a life as full as Vlad did . Well done and if you ever plan a memorial paddle please let us know …

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love your tribute to Vlad. And his history. Which also contains part of your story. Again, my sincerest condolences on your loss. I certainly will miss the stories, especially about those things about which I know nothing!, and photos. Please continue to seek peace, live fully with your wonderful memories, and keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you Barbara! I intend to do all of the above… though as Thomas a Kempis put it, “Man proposes, God disposes”. What will be, will be, but that is at least my plan :-)

      Like

  16. ❤ beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Johna, Vlad was a teacher in the tradition of Socrates. We rowed with him and discovered all the bridges, the tug races, the Everglades and how (not) to pack a kayak – and much more. You were always with him so all best, I am sure you made his life complete. Love Andy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you, Andy! I know he was very happy with me–the expression on his face in the photos of the two of us together shows that–but part of the bittersweet joy of writing this is realizing what a rich and full life he had before we ever met. I knew parts of it, of course… but there is so much more! Stand by for it to appear in the coming months and years.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. A fitting tribute to an exceptional man. How lucky you are to have know him. May he rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for letting us know more about an exeptional man.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Johna, this is such a wonderful tribute to Vlad from start to finish. What a wonderful person, and he will be remembered. I smiled when I read the part that he enjoyed being sent to the bathroom as a kid – he always knew how to make the best of a situation and you could see his sense of humour shine through so young.

    “for him, the work was its own reward.” What an ethic to live by, and I am sure he was admired by many. Do what you do, do what you love, and do it well, treat others around you with grace and kindness, and that’s how you find happiness. I think from what you wrote, Vlad showed us just that.

    I’ve enjoyed following this blog over the last few years, and always perked up whenever Vlad found the time to reply to my comment :) My condolences, and thank you for keeping up this blog. He will be missed, but he will not be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      I’m glad you liked that part, Mabel! He loved to tell that story. Actually, the way he told it he was “locked in the bathroom” –which may have been correct (eastern European child-rearing mores in the 1960s were different) or it may have been a child’s dramatic memory.

      Either way, though, what’s not in dispute is that he LOVED it–his voice always lifted as he described the warm heating pipes and the beautiful misty view.

      I was lucky enough to visit his childhood home (alas without Vlad) during a business trip to Prague in 2015. That’s why I put in the part about the house still standing–it is! And I have photos of the area, with some good stories as well. I will try to find them (Vlad was in charge of the pictures, so may be tricky) and illustrate some of the stories.

      In any event, thank you for taking the time to post. Missed, but not forgotten–you’re correct!

      Like

      • “locked in the bathroom”. Lol, very cheeky of Vlad as I’m sure his parents had no intention of locking him in :D He must have been dreaming up so many ways of seeing the world and wondering what’s it like when he was told to stay put there.

        If there’s anyone who knows Vlad that he was today, I think it is you. I am sure you will have many a tale to share of him and his/your sailing adventures. Thank you so much for responding so gracefully to all of us :)

        Liked by 1 person

  21. This has been written with so much elegance and beauty, just like Vlad’s life :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thank you, Shikha! “Elegance and beauty”… yes, two words that went well with Vlad, though at first they weren’t obvious. There was the elegance of his eye and mind… and also his physical elegance as well, though it doesn’t come across in photos and I can only allude to it in words. He had wonderful balance.. another word that applies to his life as a whole, and his esthetic sense, as well as his physicality. Thank you for writing and inspiring those thoughts!

      Like

  22. Oh, Thank you for sharing your memories with us. So much love here.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you for sharing all this with us! Vlad will live on for all of us. XXXXXX

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful man and a beautiful life. I followed him over the years, I think from when I first started blogging. Always active and delivering positive and beautiful shots. Sometimes commenting my words – calm and wisely.My deeply felt condolences to you, Johna.
    This happened when I was away travelling, so reading now that he is gone was something of a shock. I am glad you will continue the blog. Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      You are most welcome! And as I noted above, not only will I keep the blog going, I will be able to add Vlad’s voice upon occasion. I discovered a treasure-trove: A binder of all the trips he took before me, printed out (hard copy). With slight editing, and the addition of some photographs, they will make for plenty of fresh Vlad material!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank your for sharing with such beauty and joy. It is a wonderful write up of a life well lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I was very sad to read of SeaHare’s passing at the WT site. I followed him and you, ZippyChick, during your 2014 EC adventure. Ultimately that led me here, a library of wonderful thoughts and experiences. I wish you comfort and only the best – and hope to be able to track your SPOT again in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Thanks, Lindy! Your kind words and the hope of tracking my spot in future definitely was a cheering note for me. Not in 2017, most likely… but 2018 is looking good!!!

      Like

  27. I send my humble condolences to you. I was teary eyed from the moment I read the title to the end.

    May there be light and strength in your path.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I am saddened about your love’s demise. What an amazing person. Such good fortune that the two of you found each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I’m just in shock over this. I’ve been away from blogging awhile and opened my reader to this. My heart just sank! Vlad was one of the first blogs I followed. And he dropped in on mine, too. Always appreciated his posts. So unique. I’ve totally missed the details of his illness. Did you chronicle it in previous posts? As a nurse specialist in several cancers, I witness it way too much. Such a robber, it always takes people in their prime. Breaks my heart. And now Vlad. Your memorial is so beautifully written. Can’t imagine your sadness. May you find comfort in his memory and strength from God for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Hi Alexandria, no, he really wanted the blog to be a refuge from all the cancer stuff. But I did write down the story of the 40-hour ER stay that made him say (in all seriousness): “Now THAT was fun!”. I’ll post that in a bit, when ready.

      But you know, the details of the illness are… in the end kind of boring. Maybe useful as guideposts to someone who hasn’t been there before; unfortunately I nursed my dad through cancer so I’m kind of familiar with the drill.

      Thank you for posting, and stay tuned! We’ll continue…

      Liked by 1 person

  30. What a beautiful tribute and I am so glad to know more about this extraordinary man. Sending hugs and sincere sympathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute and insight into Vlad’s life.
    It’s funny how we can become so personally attached to a person we don’t know in person. I’ll never be able to think of kayaking NYC’s lower harbor without thinking of Vlad, but after reading your tribute, I realize that Vlad and I had more in common than just NYC. Photography, Human Powered Travel and always finding joy in the moment. A friend of mine once said, I could make a trip to the store for bread fun. I was just being me and I’d bet this came naturally to Vlad.

    You mentioned some of Vlad’s early discoveries around NYC by kayak. I’d love to see the kayak community come together and do a paddle in Vlad’s honor every year. Perhaps visiting these sites or that dreaded paddle for me, from NYC to Sandy Hook, NJ.

    I wish I could have paddled with him, but I hope that I will get to paddle with you in the future.

    Larry Jensen
    http://www.WonderOfWander.com

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Johna, how very moving, elegant and touching! I’m so sorry to hear of you (and the world’s) loss. Take care and see you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Beautiful tribute, Johna. Emotion prevents me finding words right now.
    Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. How could one not love that precious young lad pictured in the beginning of this post? Thank you for sharing his story and the beautiful love story as well.. The photos confirm that the two of you made an amazing pair…. which must make it equally difficult to be without him now.. though his spirit is surely smiling and watching over you now.
    I am so sorry.
    lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: Wind, Current, Love. | HarborLAB

  36. Cool dude to me, and inspiring for me. He did take a time out to show me interest in my blog and I have casually followed you both. Now looking to catch up to your exploits, I am drawn to say my goodbye to Vlad, Surely GOD smiles on me as I know in my heart that they have orchestrated a wave to alert me of his passing and to encourage you Johna, who I know he loved to keep moving. Your ripples in life do give life in unexplained ways, even best left unexplained, as the need for me to comment. Rest In Peace Vlad, touching the face of GOD, I grew up with the opening poem in my life as it was used to say goodnight at the 1am or 2am signoff. Those were in the good ole days of television, right before the National anthem. Thanks for the memory, I send you my condolences. Peace to you Johna, Sincerely John G. Dewberry – JohnGary Mycyber Talk

    Like

  37. Hi Johna, just getting caught up on past posts, thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to Vlad. Hope you are doing well. All my love, Ailsa. <3

    Like

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