"I want my life to be a good strong one - not strong like a Mr. Universe, but like a good strong cup of tea, full of flavour." - Thomas Samoht Hine
This post is in tribute to my friend and down-the-street neighbour Thomas Hine, who many in the Mythic Arts community will know from his West-Country Folklore group and blog. Thomas passed away on Wednesday morning, at much too young an age. My heart goes out to his wife (painter/poet Lunar Hine), their young daughter, his beloved aunt and extended family...and to everyone in his wide, wide circle of friends here in our village, and far beyond.
In addition to his work as a folklore scholar and blogger, Thomas had trained as an archaeologist, and was also an artist, fiddle player, and organic gardener who loved all things mythical, magical, hand-crafted, and home-grown. That's Thomas above, arranging an exhibition of his artwork at the Courtyard Cafe here in Chagford ... and below on fiddle, making music with Jason Hancox, Steve Dooley, Rima Staines, and Howard at an Equinox bonfire last spring.
I knew that Thomas had heart problems, but he was so full of life and joy that it was easy to forget this about him -- so when the ambulance came speeding onto our road I feared for the health of various elderly neighbours, never dreaming that we were losing our Thomas. It seems just a blink of an eye ago that Howard, Victoria, and I were dancing at Lunar and Thomas' wedding. Yesterday we gathered again, this time for our friend's burial procession, celebrating his life with music, art, pagan prayers and folk pageantry. Thomas believed in the magic of myth and the land, and now he is part of that magic.
I wish he had had many more decades of time to make his mark on the Mythic Arts field ... but his life was indeed a strong one, just as he'd wished, full of flavour, full of art, and full of people who loved him.
He will be missed. And he will be remembered.
Edited to add: Rima Staines has written a beautiful post about Thomas, and his very folkloric funeral, here: "The elf with the upside-down heart."