Sunday, October 30, 2011

Turn Turn Turn

We did the work that needed to be done: cleaned out her apartment; moved furniture into storage; tied up those last loose material ends that tether a life to the living. Then what? We didn't even realize that we were in a daze until we started to rise out of it. We finally took a breath and talked about how it all happened so suddenly. While it was happening, it felt crazy and long, like forever. But then, it was over and the calendar said only a week had passed. Seven days. How is that possible? It felt like years.
So, we resume our regular lives, simultaneously changed and unchanged. I think that's how it should be, or not, what do I know? We went out to the Yuba River on Saturday and took a nice hike. The weather is spectacular, a quintessential autumn, the perfect October day. The river rushes over those granite rocks with a force that continues to shape the canyon. The sound is overwhelming and good.
We've been cleaning up the garden, harvesting dried beans and the last of the tomatoes. We still have butternut squash on the vine, but the delicata have been put away with the potatoes and onions. The nights have gotten very cool, and the days are definitely socks and sneakers weather, long pants and a sweater too.

And for some reason we want to sing, "turn turn turn,"albeit without any heavenly references.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose …
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted...

We read that Steve Jobs' last words were: Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

And, so it goes.


  1. Life, and its partner, just goes on and on. There is, indeed, a time for everything.

  2. i like "turn turn turn." so true, and always so.

    changed and unchanged both -- that is just how it is.


  3. When I was sitting by my mother's bedside during those last days I turned on PBS and was moved to see a much younger Judy Collins and Pete Seeger singing that song. Judy's voice had never been more beautiful; Pete's radiant goodwill never more clear.

    I'm sorry for your loss, but grateful for rivers, gardens and perfect October days. Even stormy imperfect ones like we had here are quite fine.

  4. You live in such a majestic part of the world. I always enjoy your photos.

    I know how long an illness and death can seem, and how short it really is in perspective. I think you chose excellent ways to resume your lives.

  5. I just read about his "Oh wow..." today and want(-ed) to write about it. Beautiful. Turn, turn, turn, indeed. Love to you both.

  6. the natural world shows us the map if we ever get lost. it looks like you guys had a splendid reunion with your routine lives, a much needed one. these kinds of joyful days are just what we all need to boost us through the difficult ones.

    autumn was always my favorite season, with spring right behind, until i moved to the pnw and began to enjoy summer without the heat and humidity. now i like every season.

  7. It's been over a month since I last visited your blog. Looks like a lot of action over the last week. Glad you are surviving and moving on through the haze. Yes, turn, turn, turn and so it goes. Peace.

  8. I've been thinking lately of the "mid-life crisis". It's one thing to understand it and quite another to feel it in your bones.

    Going through the dying process with a loved one - and ironically, through the birthing process with another - has drawn me into the realization that these events are simultaneously profound and mundane. As you say, they leave us (and the world around us) both changed and unchanged.

    A melancholy washes over me, yet a growling to love more deeply and live more fully rumbles below it. This as I face a new week and a new month and a new season with bills to pay, children to raise, a business to run, a house to keep . . . the same as everyone else.

    And then I remember, I have not spent much time in nature lately. How adrift we become when we let too many layers between us and the beauty of the natural world?

    Extra hugs to you guys. Soak in the goodness from your family and friends and the beautiful world you inhabit. And don't forget to breath.

  9. "We didn't even realize that we were in a daze until we started to rise out of it."

    That is how it goes. And "turn turn turn."

    All that beauty and wonder. Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.

    I had just read the eulogy by Steve Jobs' sister, Mona, ending with his last words. They are resonating everywhere this morning.

  10. Beautiful post. I write from Black Mountain NC & am eager to be home so I can sit with you and share some wine. We have a lot to catch up on. xxxooo

  11. Jobs said goodbye to his family by gazing at each of them in turn: his sister Patty, then each of his three children, then his wife Laurene -- "his life's partner."

    He then looked over their shoulders past them and repeated one phrase three times.

    "Steve's final words were: Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

    To think he found something so worthy of "Oh Wow" looking past the ones he loved the most is so comforting to me somehow. It sounds like a nice passing.

    Nice post robin. Turn turn turn. It's enough to make me feel dizzy. I send love.

  12. This post is sheer poetry, Robin. You so beautifully describe what we go through in the loss of a parent. I had read the eulogy in the NY Times and just loved those last word. Oh, I do hope that is how I will go. Just not yet.

  13. Yeah, I read that eulogy this morning. Until Jobs died, I had no idea Mona Simpson was his sister. I read, and liked, Anywhere But Here sometime in the 90s. Very interesting turn of events, their finding each other.

  14. Gotta think Mr. Jobs had some excellent exit drugs...
    Roger's mother has passed the baton to you guys. Her spirit will love seeing you carry on!

  15. Robin and Roger, I am so very sorry. Even when we know what is coming, there is such shock and loss.
    Look forward to that new life coming into the world. Just wish we had a better world to offer.

  16. Just emerging from a multiday power outage, so I just saw this post. It's beautiful and you describe so well the aftermath of the death of someone you love. There are always so many memories wrapped up in the possessions of your loved one, it can be emotionally exhausting beyond the mere work of clean up.

    I hadn't seen or heard of that article about Jobs, so thank you for linking to it. I would have missed it entirely. We won't know what he saw, but I do know that you two are open enough to say, "Oh wow!" almost every day. That is what Nature offers us, and perhaps that's why we find healing when we step into the beauty of the outdoors.

  17. What a stunning and beautiful tribute to Jobs by his sister. I would hope that after all the dross, mistakes and crimes of the heart are weeded out we may be known for the beauty of our best decisions. peace, M