Honoring Barry Lopez

Many of you know we lost the legendary Barry Lopez on Christmas Day after his struggle with terminal cancer. For lovers of language, this world and it’s people it is a great loss. My heart hurts for those close to him, his wife and daughters. They have endured much loss this sorrowful year. The Oregon fires up the McKenzie River, left their property charred and them unmoored. They received the midnight knock on the door demanding they leave within minutes. They grabbed the cat and left. The house is damaged but fixable.
On Christmas Eve, this piece was published in LitHub, An Era of Emergencies is Upon Us and We Cannot Look Away. A gift to have Barry’s viewpoint that day.
In an All Things Considered interview, March, 2019, Barry shares some of how his cancer diagnosis changed him and created more empathy, “I imagined in everybody I passed there was some story that they carried with them that would break your heart. So how could you have the temerity to approach that person and say, here’s what’s wrong with you?”
A few days ago, Literary Arts: The Archive Project re-aired an interview with Barry. It’s worth a listen, more than once, to glean all he has for us to contemplate. A grown up is someone who no longer needs supervision, “meaning they know immediately how to act in a way that harms no one and takes care of everybody in so far that is possible. We are in a time where we are desperate for grown-ups, people who have gotten over themselves, to come together and using the power of imagination that each of us has, create a landscape that no one has ever seen before.” Barry Lopez
In Barry’s honor donations may be made to McKenzie River Trust.

A note for you: If you are looking for a way to seek connection, inspiration and a consistent practice of journaling, The Isolation Journals is offering journaling prompts free for ten days beginning January 1st. Click here: https://www.theisolationjournals.com/10-day-challenge

I am off to buy black-eyed peas to cook and serve on New Year’s Day in order to bring good luck for this new year.

I am safe in my little home with water and electricity.
I am crying because some are not.
I was going to drive along the McKenzie Hwy, maybe take some flowers to a friend who lost her mom last week Now, she may have lost her home and the McKenzie Hwy is closed as fires move swiftly through the area razing homes and small towns.

My back is killing me, with moments of relief. I call a recommended chiropractor. He is concerned for my back pain, concerned that he is unable to see me. He was evacuated from his home last night at midnight. “Screw my back” I want to say, we need to be concerned for you. He is on the other line looking up the number of someone he recommends.

The windshield repairman came to my home to replace my car’s windshield that was busted out due to a break in. There was a rash of break ins and theft in the neighborhood. People gotta fund their meth habit somehow. The repairman was cheerful as he masked up, replacing the glass as a shower of ash fell from the sky. Have a nice day, he said handing me the bill. I gave him a tip.

I see online, another friend’s home was spared (near Ashland), while all the homes around her are black rubble.

I am comfortable in my little home, but I am crying.