My Plan From Here

[ed note: Jim Dowd, as many of you know, was diagnosed with a Grade IV Gioblastoma last August. He recently entered hospice care at home and is as peaceful as one Jim Dowd can possibly be. He hates condolences. His amazing wife Bo transcribed this for him. – KT]


Carbon has a half life of approximately three and a half thousand years.

Right now, I’m basically a big bag of grass clippings.

That grass specifically having been corn processed into the “ITO” family of products.







In about 3000 years the protons and neutrons and electrons from these carbon atoms will probably get picked up by the solar winds.

They’ll fly around the solar system just as they did the first dozen billion years out from the big bang. I imagine it as a carefree time.



As I am mostly carbon I imagine there is lots of useful material I could be incorporated into. Maybe structures or even potentially living things of the microbial variety.

So, if you are looking for me, you’ll most likely find me at the bottom of a yogurt in the chunky stuff.


I’ll try to remember to smile as I pass through.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. So sad. And so sorry for his family and friends.
    Wishing peace to Jim.

    • ❤️ I am a better and more thoughtful man for my discussions with Jim (and a lot of FB lurking). Thank you & love you.

      • Hey Jim,
        Been sitting around with Dan Kinney telling Jim Dowd stories. Climbing, skiing, midnite evac’s. You, young jacked up and making us all laugh till our sides hurt. IWe shared an amazing time of life together way back then. I have loved following you from a far on Facebook. So cool to witness the smart insightful man you have become. I’m sorry you don’t get to stay longer Jim and you Bo I’m sorry you are loosing your sweet man and papa to your children. May you go easy…

      • Jim’s combination of passion for justice, rage against affronts of many kinds, side-splitting observational humor and courage in the face of dark tidings has been a privilege to encounter…a big, loving life. Peace and stardust…hugs to Bo.

  2. Jim, You are one of a kind. Wherever you are physically in the Universe, you will be a life force in the hearts, minds and souls of a whole lot of people, including me. You aren’t just matter, you matter. Thank you for your words of wisdom always. Onward and upward, Linda

    • Christine Oliver

      Beautifully said. Jim, you will be missed in this current incarnation. Bo and other loved ones- I hope the universe holds you tightly.

      • You were the STAR at the Fishtales at the library, when you told your story about poetry. I, as well as everyone else, willl miss the humor you brought that lightened our life. You already was a shining star, forever to remain one.

    • “You aren’t just matter – you matter.”
      Linda FTW.

  3. I fucking love Doritos…

  4. Caitlin Featherstone

    Jim, Not sure I ever thanked you properly for that pump in the Mother’s Day flood so many years ago. You have been one indispensable bag of carbon, my friend.

  5. Deepest appreciation for the perspectives and humor you have bring to the world. Love to your family and friends. I shall never again eat yoghurt without thinking of you

  6. Jim, you have singularly changed many things, & in my opinion, on the whole, those changes have been for the better. Expressing my gratitude seems to fall short of the mark, but I’ll work with what I’ve got: thank you. And to borrow Jason’s wise words, I fucking love ITOs. ❤️

  7. Lars Knakkergaard

    I hope it’s wild Maine blueberry yogurt!

    • You have touched so many lives, and I am honored to be one of them…may you have a peaceful journey

  8. Jimi "JD" Beauregard

    I vote for carbon-12. Rock on buddy.

  9. Safe travels my chunky yogurt friend

  10. Tostitos Scoops

    The Chips You Love In A Scoop-able Shape.
    It’s Like a Mini Chip Bowl!

  11. A few members of ‘Unity Boys’ regularly hold an honored spot on my facebook page. Thanks for loaning this reluctant ice climber a pair of boots in 1980 something!

  12. One of a kind dude. Always and forever.

  13. When you pass through, Cap’n….I will be sure to be in Germany, where they have those toilets with the shelf in the bowl. That way, we can stop and chat for a while before flushing.
    How well do you mix with muesli?


  14. Cheers to sweet, fruity, chunky yogurt and the exquisite, crispy, forever enduring Dorito. I hope the transition is calm and peaceful. You are the universe!

  15. WWJDD …what would James Dowd do
    Smile on my friend <3

  16. So appreciative and grateful for this post, for the humor, for the levity, for the reality check. I get so emotional seeing anything that has to do with you, your family, your situation. I appreciated your writing, whether snarky, witty, humorous,intellectual. Sometimes I don’t get it, but I get that you make a difference. And for that I am most grateful, witnessing you from the periphery. Much love as you journey onward into the uncharted waters. PEACE!

  17. It’s Jim always being Jim!
    Love you for that and so much more.
    Amy and Mark

  18. May all of your time be carefree time – no matter what the form. xoxo

  19. Jim you never fail to amaze and impress. Glad our paths crossed At unity. Safe travels. Wherever it may leads. We will be smiling with you as you pass through

  20. Jim you never fail to amaze and impress. Glad our paths crossed At unity. Safe travels. Wherever it leads. We will be smiling with you as you pass through

  21. You’re nitrogen and carbon and calcium – the stuff stars are made of, Jim

  22. And there’s that Modest Mouse song….

  23. Much love to you through this journey Jim. I admire your strength and vision. You will always be here in all of us.

  24. Thank you for being a friend. You talked me through writing my sister in law’s eulogy….and I’ll miss the debates, sometimes agreeing, many times disagreeing…but with humor and an open mind.

    You’re a good guy. Wishing you peace, and your family too.

    • Yup. Carbon. Carbon and some water, that’s us.

      But there’s also an undeniable alchemy that takes place that science is clueless about.

      It only hit me when my first daughter, Emily, was born. As I held her tiny body in my arms I looked down at her thought, “Okay, I know all about where babies come from. We just made one. But. Where on Earth do babies COME from?”

      For all the reproductive biology I understood, and even (sort of) the abiogenesis origins-of-life-from-chemical-protiens stuff I’d learned in college, nothing came close to explaining where the person that I was holding in my arms came from.

      That tiny face looking up at me was the result of some kind of Serious Alchemy Shit there. And like you Jim, that “God” stuff didn’t explain it any better for me.

      Yeah, she was carbon and water. She was ovum and sperm then cell division and cell differentiation and good nutrition and prenatal care and all that, but understanding how all that worked didn’t come close to explaining what was looking up at us from that tiny white flannel, turquoise striped hospital blanket. No.

      That was some Serious Alchemy Shit looking up at me right there.

      And the thing was, once it started, once proto-Emily began stirring in her mother’s belly, we didn’t have a lot of control over it. Before we knew it, it was No Delays, No Deferrals, No Timeouts, no Form 4868 Automatic 4 Month Extensions. This new person was coming into the universe like a freight train. That there weren’t any “take a minute to catch your breath” respites during labor even though it was so painful and overwhelming was only a taste of things to come. Emily was on the way and there was no negotiating to be done about it.

      And it hit me then, looking down at that seven pound person I was holding, that as inexplicably as new life appears, and as relentlessly as it comes – on its own schedule, it disappears just as ruthlessly on the other end. And that’s some kind of Inexplicable Alchemy Shit too.

      A few of us have been lucky enough to have known your alchemy Jim. Which was a helluva lot more than carbon and water.

      And while some may look for your carbon bits at the bottom of their yogurt, I’m betting your hydrogen bits are going to find their way down to Kendall Square and into one of those cold fusion reactors you’ve been telling us about. In which case pretty soon you’ll fuse into helium bits, and at some point, maybe I’ll breathe you (or okay, some of your brother helium molecules), and for a few seconds I’ll get to sound like a chipmunk and you’ll crack me up one more time.

      Too, too, too fucking short a time your alchemy lasted. But so lucky for those of us who got to spend time with you.

      We love you Jim. And in the blink of an eye our carbon atoms are going to be freed up and pinging around the universe with you. Here’s hoping they bump into each other.

  25. Jim, the one and only, original. I dreamed of you two nights ago, and we were at Table Rock and had forgotten the climbing rope, and you just climbed up up and out. We waved goodbye and you tossed down a cartoon and then I woke up. It’s been a long time since the Bean. Peace be with.

  26. You have been in Nancy and my thoughts for months. Your bravery and wit throughout this ordeal is such an inspiration.

  27. Nancy and I have been awed by your bravery and wit throughout this journey. You are an inspiration to us all.

  28. You once wrote in my Unity College yearbook, ” Jo,Jo,Jo,Jo…. What do I say, close friend? We’ve shared feelings, shared laughs, you let me use your phone… what do I say for shit’s sake? You are a superior person in the face of complete mediocrity. I’ll miss you and I can honestly say I love you without worrying about being misinterpreted. Let’s kick ass next year and make this place Utopia. We have the power, because it’s ours! I never want to lose your friendship. Much love, and help me find my brain… Iguana” James Dowd. I’ve always loved you right back. You are a genius. A bright light, and too good for this world. Thank you for sharing your friendship with me. You never let me use YOUR phone. I forgive you.

  29. Joanne McKinnon

    I remember watching you riding your bike home from the train station- you’d pedal hard up Hammond Street or Traverse Street, the most difficult hills in the ‘hood. Peace & love JD I’m sorry your ride was cut short. Xo

  30. Peace to you and your family Jim. You are the comedian of the Unity crew from my time there. I’ll have some doritos in your honor and maybe I’ll learn to eat yogurt now. See you in the cosmic and or comic beyond.

  31. I’m having a hard time fathoming a world without Jim in Jim form, I mean I like chunks at the bottom of my yogurt but they are not quite as clever and kind. Love you Jim!

  32. Hey Jim, remember the “Apple Bomb.” I’d be arrested for a joke like that today. Rock climbing and late night drives in the Falcon. 30 years…yesterday…tomorrow. It’s all the same and all different. Last requests?

  33. Say hi to my Tom and keep the your stars shining brightly so we can se e what you are up t o

  34. Many blessings to you, my friend. Wishing you safe passage and a prodigious journey.

  35. Heather Stewart

    Because what you have said and done will continue to make us laugh, all the while lasering in on that which is most important.

  36. Public Image Ltd on repeat.

    Love you Jim, Bo, & your amazing family.

  37. Jim, you’re an inspiration in this form or any other. You’ve made the people on this rock better for your company, your wit and your curiosity, which is contagious. May the solar wind be at your back…which I guess would also be your front…

  38. The most enduring image is Jim smiling with his family. A beacon of happiness.

  39. Scott LeVasseur

    In the Immortal words of Ned Flanders: Godspeed little doodle.
    You will always be a star in my eyes, Jim.

  40. Lisa LeVasseur

    I’m glad the fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt is my favorite kind.

  41. Been sitting around the dinner table with Dan Kinney telling Jim Dowd stories. You young and jacked up making us laugh so hard our sides hurt. Climbing sites, ropes course and midnight evacuations, crazy WFR courses trying to see who could do the weirdest shit simulation. We shared a good time of life Jim and I have loved seeing, thru the wonders of Facebook, the smart sassy man you have become. I’m sad and deeply sorry you don’t get to stay and live a long life. Bo and family I’m sorry you are loosing your man. May you go easy Jim, May you become the universe from its infinite expanse to the fun fruit surprises at the bottom of my yogurt cup. A thousand Blessings on your life and death.

  42. Jim and family, I love you all so much. My family has been in storm, which has taken all I have. I think of you all daily and am inspired by your way of navigating this wild adventure of humanness. My friend Anthony Weller and I are working on a product launch of ‘Hygiene Paste’ – main ingredients include doritos and coke. Humor- its the only way through…and you dear ones have helped me through many a dark moment.

  43. You are a rock star Jim! You have definitely made the world a better place.

  44. A more thoughtful and talented writer I’ve never known.

    You’ll be missed for so many reason by so many people.


  45. Life is good? Death might be great? Looking forward to your report. I am always available. You can find me cleaning up the slop under the yogurts where I get most of my insights.

  46. Tamara Battis-Lee

    jim, you are beautiful. sending you all of the love.

  47. My interactions with you were limited to EGS functions while I worked for the YMCA. I saw you as an awesome, hands-on Dad. You always said hello with a smile. Like many others, I thoroughly enjoy your wit via The Clam and appreciate every ounce of your sarcastic truths about our fair city. Through these writings, you taught me it’s ok to laugh and poke fun at something you love and that sometimes it’s the best way to prevent cartoon steam from blowing out of your ears. Knowing many of your friends and reading all of their sentiments tells me one thing…this world is better for having a Jim Dowd in it. I fucking hate yogurt, but I will think of you with every ITO bag I tear open. Thank you for leaving your mark on this world and peace be with you.

  48. To get inspired and be inspiring is to live. We will carry your torch my friend Jame Dowd

  49. It was a pleasure to know you Jim. If only briefly.

    Too short a time.

    The best stuff is always too short. Peace.

  50. Now I will have to save all the almost empty yogurt containers with the chunkies at the bottom. I will need a bigger fridge. I count on your particles being as awesome as you by the way. And witty. Don’t let me down.
    Love you like a brother. Always.

  51. Jim (and Bo and kids), I am saddened to hear this news. I like the particular arrangement of molecules that I have had the good fortune to know as Jim Dowd. Sending so much love your way. I will look for you wherever they are putting lasers on sharks.

  52. Where the Passagassawaukeag River melds with Belfast Bay and a shit ton of zucchinis bob on the outgoing tide; when I recall your voice at my wedding; where snark meets sarcasm so spot on I wince; in ironic stories and laughter; that’s where I will find you. The end is also part of the journey. If you can bear it, dammit, so can we. Love to you all.


    There is the struggle to hold fast (as you taught me back in those hard Mullen days) and there is the struggle to let go (harder by far).

    You were always better at seeing the big picture. I imagine you are seeing more than ever before. I’m sure it’s sad to see that much. But It must be worth savoring, that searing understanding, minute by minute.

    I love what you taught me and I love how you lived. And I love you now. sk

  54. I discovered Jim Dowd on Facebook today. What an amazing human being. I can’t remember the title or the author, but his thoughts here remind me of an old science fiction short story in which a guy sells his soul to the devil but manages to slyly get out of the contract and travel the stars forever. I would have loved to have told him about it. Love and strength to Jim and Bo and family and friends.

  55. A bright star… my love to you and your family.

  56. it was like I had already known you forever and sharing the laughs started immediately.
    i wish our paths had crossed a whole hell of lot more.
    beautiful is so many things.
    bless you Jim
    good journey

  57. Peace to you and your Family. I have always admired your wit, intelligence and the love you have for your family. I am inspired to just be me with no apologies and Live brave like you.

  58. peter Gillingham

    I am super sad to read this. I have never not been with you and been sad. Your wit and warp sense of humor makes the world smile. My first memory of you is leaving the YMCA in Augusta after leading a four-week trip. You kept yelling ” I need three oranges” When we found your much needed oranges you told us juggling oranges is the best way to hitchhike. You must be entertaining to hitch a ride. You are certainly entertaining. I love you Jimbo!

  59. Beth Williamson

    Jim, thank you so much for all of the service and help that you have shown again and again to our community !!!

  60. Jim,

    Here’s to the ripples you leave – they are far and wide and powerful! Thanks for all you taught me and the rest of the Unity clan – including “Dave Tuttle!” You’ve made the “best kind of trouble” for many – we will try to carry on in your honor!
    Marty O’Keefe

  61. Jim, outrageous and courageous, loving, funny, and very much loved. Maybe in one of those parallel universes discussed by theoretical physicists we can meet again beyond this galaxy.

  62. Dianne Hanlon-Druyff

    Interesting travels my friend. Your wit and curiosity about matters big, small, and especially local made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. Strength and love to you and your family.

  63. Well…fuck!

    You have given me many chuckles. Thank you.

  64. Rebecca Morrissey

    Jim, I appreciate your sense of humor as much as everyone because I can tend to be too serious. I need to remember to make fun of stuff more, because I can, and when I remember to channel that the laughs are good! But in here I am going to say something different. I appreciate your serious side too. Running into you in the middle of a bad time in my life you listened and paid attention and offered help. Thanks for that. Sending love to you an Bo and kids!

Comments are closed