Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Really Matters

April 25, 2012 seems a long, long time ago.  I was posting about the hawks in NYC and thinking this would be the year I posted at least once a month, hopefully more.  Since then I've enjoyed some unforgettable gardens and the company of other garden bloggers at the Asheville SC Fling, said good-bye to two dear gardening friends who died far too soon, and lost two large trees that changed my primarily shady garden to one abundantly blessed with sun!  Caught up in the whirlwind of events, there never seemed to be enough time to post about any of it.

But today I'm planning the memorial for one of those dear friends, Becky Waak.  After constant wrangling of details for the past three days, I wanted to be still and consider some of those things that made her dear to me.  

First, and possibly foremost, was her crystalline honesty.  You always knew where she stood, and you knew just as clearly what you meant to her.  Becky was the only person I've ever known who made me pale by comparison when it came to speaking her mind.  There was also never a person more generous with her hugs or smiles.  But if you hurt her, you didn't have to wonder long about that either.     

She was an eternal optimist.  Even as breast cancer savagely fought to take her life, to the end she believed she'd find a way to beat it.  Each new course of treatment sent her back to the internet to read every medical paper or study available.  She never stopped wanting to know everything about everything.  When coupled with a desire to serve, the same insatiable curiosity that pushed her to get two college degrees also prompted her to become a Master Gardener upon retirement.  She always wanted to stay on top of current best practices for drought resistant gardening, rainwater harvesting, poultry keeping, beekeeping, propagation, and greenhouse management - then volunteer to teach others.

She wanted to change the world.  She never stopped believing fervently in helping anyone who might be less fortunate, perhaps because she had not come from privilege.  As a girl in rural Texas, she saw few options modeled beyond the traditional roles for women of the time but found a path of her own anyway.  As a young single parent, she created and taught a proud independence to her daughter.  As a wife, she built a real and loving partnership with Roger.  As a citizen, she worked and voted to ensure a better, safer, more peaceful world for all of us - not just a privileged few.  
She never forgot that life is a team sport. 

Becky was only 64.  She really thought she'd have more time.  Egalitarian to the end, whether you knew her or not, liked her or not, agreed with her or not, she's giving all of us the same gift.   She'd want us to love with awareness of loss, live with the gratitude that comes from having nothing, and make decisions with all the functioning brain cells available to us - and to make time to play outside more often.  
Thanks for everything, sweet friend.  

Purple Martin Party Time!

Travis Audubon hosted a Purple Martin Colony visit this past Saturday next to the historic home of Laura Joseph.  Laura started...