Our dear friend Karen died on February 4 of this year, 11 days prior to my release of Then, Now, and In-Between: Place, Memories, and Loss in Oregon. Karen was loved by so many: friends like me and students and co-workers and sisters and brothers and nephews and sons and a daughter and her husband – so many who formed a powerful circle around her then and now. Karen was a writer and poet, and perhaps, the kindest person I have known. She had a fabulous, smart sense of humor, and – more than anything – was complimentary and supportive of others….always.
I am certain, although so many have been supportive of my writing, Karen was my biggest fan and cheerleader from the start. She read My Music Man ahead of most everyone, and commented publicly or privately on most blogs I posted. I showed her the cover of Then, Now and In-Between before anyone else. I sent it by text, no idea that her illness was returning, and she quickly sent me a heart emoji, adding “Vanilla Leaf! Perfect!” This photo I had taken not far from her house, here in West Linn, on a hillside just above Camassia Nature Preserve. Camassia, our spring hurrah silently boasting blooming camassia, and protected by the Nature Conservancy.
I miss her and think about her each day. Last week as I strolled alone through Mary Young Park, I felt her among the pungent smell of flowering skunk cabbage and in the whispering of the Douglas fir boughs and cottonwood leaves, just as I knew I would.
From Then, Now and In-Between Acknowledgement:
“I honor and thank Karen for offering constant, profound encouragement and friendship: I will forever feel your spirit in the whispering of the cottonwoods and ripples of the river.”
The photo below, shared earlier this week by Karen’s sister Cynthia, encouraged me to put this book out more boldly today than I did in its release, especially, to those who love Karen. I hadn’t seen the photo before of Karen and me, but remember the moment clearly three years ago. My joy in seeing her in person, something we never did often enough, and yet feeling kindred spirits always. I thought to make the book free in hopes that more might enjoy it – yet learned that would require me to select Amazon as its sole distributor – not something I will choose to do. And so, instead, I reduced the price as low as possible ($2.99) on all outlets and commit my profits (spoiler alert: we’re not talking millions!), matched per dollar by me, to the Nature Conservancy, following through on Karen’s wishes as noted in her obituary. And in hopes that you too might enjoy the stories of old Oregon, nature’s bounty, and the joys and losses that weave through our hearts and souls.
This compendium of essays and prose includes many that first appeared on this Musings About Life in Oregon blog. This series of writing digs into old Oregon, with a nod to today, weaving in memories and stories with humor, sadness, and melancholy.
And so, dear friends and followers, I encourage you to purchase my newest book, available only in e-book due to the approximate 100 color images filling its pages. If you buy it for your Kindle (through Amazon) you can share it freely if you have others shared on your account. Learn more about the book (or watch the virtual book launch) or simply follow these links to your favorite distributor:
In love, kindness, humor and all other attributes shared by this dear friend of ours. Please feel free to share this with others who may have an interest.