It Takes and It Takes…

Some time ago (during my considering-only-myself attempt to visit Alaska, which didn’t pan out), our Alaska daughter-in-law remarked that she kept thinking about how much the coronavirus has taken from all of us. She put me in mind of the Hamilton lyric, “it takes and it takes and it takes.” The lyric refers to death, but in my mind it’s the year 2020. All of it. An ungenerous, vicious year.

And now one of our own has a big loss. A faithful reader, Susan, who lives in the Oregon woods near the McKenzie River, had evacuated from fire danger, and now learns from a search and rescue team that her house is spared, “undamaged,” but their lovely studio-guesthouse is gone.

Both grief and relief – thankfully they are safe, the house remains, but in an altered landscape a beloved structure is gone, leaving an awareness of how very close the destructive flames came. To her message, Susan attached a link in memoriam – a post her daughter wrote about the little house in the heady days of Red House West.

Proving the rest of Miranda’s lyric painfully true, “…death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints” – the death toll from COVID-19 reached 200,000 this weekend, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died Friday night. The tiny giant of a jurist is gone. I love this tribute, an essay by Nina Totenberg, because they were fast friends for five decades.

Thank you, Justice Ginsberg, for all you did for the equal rights of all people. We owe you a debt of gratitude beyond measure, and oh, oh we will miss you.

Annus horribilis.

4 thoughts on “It Takes and It Takes…

  1. Katy, Thank you for honoring our cottage, lost in the Holiday Farm Fire on the McKenzie River at Nimrod, Oregon. “It takes and it takes and it takes” describes the awfulness of 2020 and your graceful words and your painting ease some of our and our family’s loss. I was very young when I first read Grace Paley’s “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” and Terry and I both wondering how two seventy-five year olds will make these changes. We are so fortunate to still have the main house although we don’t know yet much about its condition. We are so very fortunate to have friends and family offering support. The writing daughter, Katie, whose blog you share and her husband are front and center, helping us move to a rental for the “meantime.” And, soon, we hope helping us go upriver to pack up a few more things when we are permitted to do so and to help us leave our home as secure as we can without electricity. The power companies promise we will be “energized” in the next couple weeks. We know they are referring to properties but we’re imagining the process energizing us as well.

    • Dear Susan, nowhere in this did I say how very sorry I am this is happening to you. You, and Grace, are right – we weren’t counting on enormous changes at the last minute. But you know, with the wonderful support and love you have from your family, I think you and Terry will weather the changes. Not to say it will be easy. Starting with being away from home for indefinite time. I so hope you will find your house intact. I like your metaphor of being electrified – we could all use that – and not just electrified by horrible news. I wish you energy and health, and send so much love, Katy

  2. I’m so so sorry to hear about the guesthouse. I hope, Susan, that you can get back to your house soon. What a terrifying and destructive fire. I can’t imagine how hard this must be.
    And thank you, Katy, for this so lovely post. It is a bad year, that’s for sure. I heard Nina T read that tribute on NPR, and then I finally started crying. xoxo

  3. Annus horribilis indeed. And very little light ahead. We are in this for the long haul and finding joy in little things and being kind to one another is important right now. Those were, of course, always important but now more than ever.

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