Welcome to Celebrating Virginia Bodner! Most of you will probably know many reasons to do so, yet few, if any, will know all. Even those who’ve loved & admired her–along with her makings & effects in this world–have realized all the more about her spirit & gifts as she passed from it–in one sense. As an inspiring force, her presence doesn’t just remain, but grows.
We invite you to participate. Share whatever thoughts, photos, experiences that remembering Virginia/ Ginny/ Gin/ Nature Girl/ Mrs. B./ Mom/ friend (however you think of or call her) suggests, either through the comment box below (moderated to skim out spam) or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pages are up for the work of her brush, pen and friends–especially things recently shared or discovered. We hope to continue adding Virginia’s:
~~~Poetry (snap-verse, weathergrams, haiku–& beyond…)
~~~Artworks (see Alice’s Gallery for now…)
~~~Nature thoughts & writings (Mud-Puddle Marsh, etc.)
~~~Biography (a most amazing life…, with many surprises)
~~~On-going Initiatives (outdoor classroom/ Wetlands, etc.)
~~~Dear Friends (co-conspirators, i.e., YOU, us, etc.)
On return visits, you may find not just more offerings from others who have known, been inspired, and loved Virginia, but new offerings from her just going up–as fresh now as when they were first experienced, penned, drawn, &/or photographed. You’re certain to find plenty of surprises among them, as in her biography. When returning, you may want to check for more recent additions to the seemingly bottomless page by scrolling down to check for new sections from the bottom up, as well as from top down.
She did more than appreciate variety & diversity, loving the world in its unique particulars. Her love for individuals & arts, once experienced, made for lifelong relations. Not to put a halo on her once blonde head, just being honest about it–the joy & beauty she found from girlhood on in nature (as participant, student & teacher), she also found in the arts (as participant, recipient, do-er, helper) and in persons.
In both nature & art, she shared what she loved with others for the values found there. If her relationships showed integrity, sincerity, honesty, good will; attentiveness, intuition, & genuine feeling, she also had a few lacks: lack of self-consciousness, self-promotion, hidden agendas & personal ambition, for example. (Again, this simply describes what those who knew her well will recognize.)
When it came to teaching, Virginia held nothing back, sharing wonders & treasures with children, teachers she mentored & worked with, and parents (whose perspectives & caring she identified with, as she also did with students). “Thank you for being there for us,” more than one group wrote in a parting note. She was there for them, which is why many parents were grateful, too. She gave and exchanged without reserve, including evening hours at home & weekends at the cabin devoted to reflection & planning.
As in how she engaged in collaborative arts like drama, dance, music-making, & linked-poetry, she neither held back, nor over-pushed, but delivered when asked. Given the impact of her “Anne Frank” performance in high school, as well abilities with piano, plus her enjoyment of painting & poetry, she could easily have gone professional in almost any of the arts, yet she majored in biology, and chose teaching as her main practice.
She never lost touch with the arts, however, whether encouraging her students or practicing them herself “on the side,” as recreation. What she didn’t do was try to push her own creations forward to a wider audience or to make something more out of them (like career or reputation) beyond the primary making. Little, if any, or her drama, dance & music survive, except in some memories, but in her retirement years, the visual work flowed, with more examples up shortly for your enjoyment. Most have never been seen or exhibited before. They were made the way she might make up a song or dance to express the occasion.
If she’d been a jazz musician, she’d have enjoyed joining in for the joy of the music & the playing together, with no thoughts towards producing a record or booking a performance. It was the doing, the playing & sharing that had primary value. Not that she objected to wider sharing or tangible productions that might bring value to others; these just weren’t part of her ordinary agenda or personal repertoire. She left such things to others.
The same applied to her poetry, impressive expressions & expressive impressions at the same time. Not that sought to impress anyone. The only way a verse of hers could be named a “Grand Prize Winner” (described as “best haiku of the year in English”) was by having been sent off by her husband. Though she never sent any writing off for publication herself, others close to her did, including a few linked-poetry co-consirators.
Her short poems of the moment often resonate as if in a quantum state–at once expressive impression & impressive expression. Hers were like that, the impression of a moment registered with feelings intact, often scribbled on scraps of paper or in notebooks tucked away, some just now turning up. Among these are not just the haiku-like, but also the more personally voiced, thoughtful, and/or dream-based.
There are a few examples where she played a more active role in drafting, selecting & tweaking material for publication, even if someone else did the actual sending. These were in response to direct requests, e.g., the article she co-wrote for Orion Afield, and the entries submitted to her college class’ anniversary reports (the last just published in May 2019, an especially noteworthy weaving of prose, verse & autobiographical reflection). These will go up as clickable Pdf.’s, as soon as possible.
She was never fond of deadlines, or of having to finish, though willing to help others faced with such dilemmas–offering responses to someone else’s “almost last drafts,” for example.
Alas, we didn’t have her help in drafting the notice for the local paper, a challenge that required serious efforts from all three named “survivors.” Any way it’s sliced, diced, chopped & blended, it far from does the person justice. It’s also an unsatisfying format which the newspaper then mucked about with to conform its own template–even moving parts about.
Given the venue, it was aimed primarily for Virginia’s local friends and former students. Each item deserves expansion, e.g., her web of friends and extended family. We hope no one will mind having been grouped together instead of individually identified. As for the life at the center, hers was far too amazing & full of interesting surprises to fit in any conventional format.
CLICK TO OPEN: Virginia-Bodner-Obituary (for/from Optic)
Besides mucking about with the text & paragraphing, the newspaper also squeezed text into unreadably narrow columns, extending the “column inches.” Of course we were amateurs at the form. In retrospect, it might have been more useful to keep it extremely short, with hardly any biographical material, to direct readers to this website all the more clearly. “Live & learn.”
Gus questioned the “happiest years” statement included, by the way, suggesting we should add an “among,” since other years could also qualify, e.g., some in her childhood. Yes, that was so, as well as her times as student, young explorer, bride, mother, etc. She never really ran out of happiest years, though coping with three decades of Parkinson’s side effects (like tremor & balance issues) took a toll.
When things got tough, however, that made bright spots all the happier–as in the active adventures of her last years with loved ones. If she couldn’t climb Hermit’s Peak with her kids any more the way she had at 50, well a more modest walk or time at the gym could still make her and her companions happy. Not the happiest of a lifetime with so many exilarating peaks, perhaps, unless you factor these into the embedded memory.
High spots may be shared on site by & for her wider circle of friends, left in the COMMENTS box, below, or sent via email at email@example.com, for adding to the “Friends” page. (See menu.)