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September 21, 2013


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It never fails to amaze me: we spend so much time and energy imbibing the Buddhist teachings on impermanence; we know very well that "you can't control life"; and yet we don't know how much "normal" we've taken for granted until suddenly, everything falls apart, leaving us astonished at how much it is possible to lose. (I believe it was Eudora Welty who said something like, "Seems like there ain't no end to what people can lose and keep on living" …) Thanks for this report from the front lines, Kathy. I wish I could be there to help you all rebuild—which is perhaps the positive expression of our folly. We just keep going back in there and putting together that which we have broken. Again. May you be able to return to your lovely cabin sooner than you expect, and may I get to go up there with you again this lifetime.

Julene Bair

It's shocking to see such altered images of the place Jim and I visited you in only a month or so ago. You write beautifully about these changes. Your last line reminded me of an Aldo Leopold quote I read recently: "One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds." Your post inspired me to look it up. Here is the rest: "Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise." This time the damage is not invisible, but the cause is to many. Yours is the role of the doctor, a sometimes thankless task, saying what few want to hear, but what we must hear, as you say, "over and over." An illness must be recognized before we can begin to heal it.

Kathy Kaiser

Jennifer, thanks for the wonderful thoughts, and I certainly hope that you do go up to the cabin with me again.

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