Before comments & offerings from friends on, about &/or to Virginia, here are a few little offerings that have showed up so far from her to friends. Some never mailed show her heart was in closer touch than her logistics. Here are letter-poems to/for Yolanda Padilla & Suzy Middleton, for example, whether sent before or not, made in the same spirit found in the moving “still-lifes” she imagined attaching.
Yolanda & Virginia Get Together
There are others already found, but not yet up, especially to/for Gary & Heather, Sandy, Nancy, Gus, Gita, Lucy…R…& others tucked away in folders.
In the meanwhile, here are a few recent offerings from friends to, on, &/or about her, with others handwritten in a pile still to be thanked for. Indeed, her friends know her just as she was.
Anyone who knew her will miss her.
We will treasure her Darshan.
crescent of moonlight
springing off the high board
into the Milky Way
~~~~~~~~~~Heather & Gary
Ginny’s been on my mind and in my heart these days. She was my first babysitter! And we always did wonderful creative things together. I always thought(and still do!) that Ginny was charismatic. . . she was the first person I knew who possessed that quality, all the way through. I loved her soft voice, her handwriting (those swirly tails on her “y’s”), her beauty, sensuality, her appreciation for the smallest details. . . her poetry, her penetrating gaze. Her performance in the high school play in the leading role as Anne Frank was mesmerizing.
I had the good fortune to witness Ginny as a teacher in her classrooms in Vegas a few times.. . . Once (late 1980’s) she asked me to come present my pictures of endangered species from California to her students, and I said maybe students from New Mexico wouldn’t be interested in endangered species from California. . . but she thought otherwise. She was right! That was the first presentation I did for students.
Ginny taught me that my photographs could teach, a revelation, and I’ve never stopped. She had her students create a thank you mural for me on black paper with colored chalk, drawing images from what I’d shown purely from memory. It was before any of my work had been published. I was astounded by the drawings! One student remembered quite precisely what the Tiburon Mariposa Lily looked like! And many others were similarly clearly recalled. Wow.I do remember that Ginny received a special award in New Mexico for being the best teacher of the year. . . . well deserved.
[This was actually “New Mexico Conservation Teacher of the Year,” in 1992, bestowed by the state’s Soil & Water Conservation districts. It would have embarrassed her had it not been in response to such cooperative efforts involving students, community member & agencies.]
It was a particular pleasure to be with Ginny and Gus and Gita and Amber in Hawaii. . .on the big island, where we were with the birds in Hakalau and walked down to the molten lava from Mauna Kea. Even then, when the effects of the Parkinson’s were being seen and felt, Ginny was remarkably open about her changes of mind, physicality, emotions, dreams. . . consciously experiencing it, being clearly present, and communicating it.My last visit with Ginny was fall 2010 when she and Dick arranged for me to come to United World College to present for students and the community over several days. Gita provided a lovely and thoughtful introduction, and after the presentation, in a pause in the Q&A, Ginny raised her hand and, in her quiet but distinct voice, she said, “When Susie came to show her photographs to my students years ago she showed a picture of two beautiful lizards, called Fringed Toed Sand Lizards, and one of my students loved the name, but thought she’d said ‘French Toast Lizards’!” Everyone in the auditorium broke out in laughter. Joyous times. Sending love to you all.~~~~~from Susan Middleton
[Many local friends may recall Susan’s books & National Geographic features, even the TV crew that followed her to film one of her Los Niños visits. Suffice to say that all the visits were big hits, sharing & inspiring, in synch with all. The clarity of her photographs & conservation-related knowledge conveyed become instruments of relationship.]
P.S. I also want to share this painting that Ginny gave me a few years ago. . . . lifting off with the birds. . .
From: Ish Wood: I could not help crying when I read your wonderful words, Gita. Ginny has always been the epitome of love to me. That’s what led me to name my daughter, Jenny, after her. To hear that she’s slipping away from us is sad. My connection with her has always been slight compared to so many others, but my feelings for her are really deep, far deeper than the number of meetings would suggest. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.I just returned from British Columbia where a group of three paddled kayaks for 7 days on Murtle Lake. A mother bear and her two adorable cubs greeted us on the trail where we portaged our boats. She looked down from behind a felled log curious about our intentions. I immediately recognized a kindred spirit. Ginny and all of you would have loved the moment.After three days of paddling and hiking and camping in the rain we finally woke to clear skies. That allowed us to hike above tree-line and witness the Canadian Rockies from a close distance. Ten hours later we tumbled into camp. Satisfied that we had escaped the cell phone and computer for a brief week, we agreed that suffering the rain and mosquitoes had been worth it.
Please give Ginny a hug and kiss from Ish. Love you all…..
[We met Ish August 1966 in a high Cascades wilderness, with a sense of connection that eventually led to designating him Gita’s “godfather”–as he says, a closeness that has defied time spent & geographical distances.]
From: Johnni Hansen Date: August 5, 2019 to Gus, Gita, and Rick: With much love and a heavy heart i read your email. I was out on son’s boat today just enjoying nature. I felt something, i heard something and could just sense a new or different energy in the world. Ginny had passed. May she Rest In Peace and always have that sweet smile on her face. That twinkle in her eye. Her love for her family and nature will always be remembered…. Please keep us posted if you choose to do a celebration of her life. I love you all.~~~~~Johnni HansenDearest Rick and Gita and Gus: Joe and I feel so privileged to have spent so many precious days with Ginny in Tucson over the last few yrs. It was impossible not to be your very best self in her presence as her love and light animated and illuminated all around her. I will miss her terribly. But Joe especially is feeling the loss of one of the few people he trusts with his heart. Such a pure and lively spirit. May she live on in each of us as we try to emulate her love of the world.~~~~~Jami & Joe (Hanreddy)
She was still teaching when I first met her, and I enjoyed hearing about her students, both the gifted and those with special needs. She spoke about both groups with equal enthusiasm. I know they were lucky to have Ginny as a teacher. …. She had some real talent, and I hope that her art continued to bring her pleasure in her later years….~~~~~Cheryl Brodsky
[With more or less related expressions from other cousins (Gina, Judee…), siblings & nieces… on both branches of the family, to put up in an expandable Pdf/file as possible.]
Virginia certainly was an inspiration for all that knew her. The memorials to her life have shown this. Her memories will be with all that have known her. It will be hard for all of you…not have her physically with you, but her spirit will be with you forever. My love and thoughts are with you all….– Barbara Baker [“the model of what an inspiring biology teacher can be”]
[Michael was in our Peace Corps training group–India 38–bound for Bengal, but took a pass after discovering he was no longer under threat of being drafted. He came to visit when we were back from India in 1968, care-taking Virginia’s parent’s house near Seattle while they were off on a wilderness sabbatical to study bird migrations on the remote northwest coast of Vancouver Island. While sharing a moment there with a stick of ashram incense (“Divine Love”), Michael had an intense inner experience, soon after which he was off to Pondicherry, and part of Auroville, Mother’s great experiment nearby, more or less ever since.]
On Aug 18, 2019, from Percyne Gardner: Dearest Virgina, Sweet and gentle spirit. You have given so much through the years in your beautiful quiet way.
~~~She whom we love and lose,
~~~is no longer where she was before.
~~~She is now wherever we are.
So appreciative to have known Virginia, and all of you, all of these years. And especially grateful to have had that somewhat impromptu, but so rewarding, visit in Las Vegas last summer. Thinking of you all and looking forward to digging into the website. Warmly, —George (Clay) Bunch, Santa Cruz
I cannot imagine how low you must be now, …amigo. We are mighty sad on the Southern Plains this afternoon thinking of the last times we were around Virginia.–Jim Harris, Lea County
Country roads, mountain mama, blessed Virginia! –John Denver OmeletNo one has done more to make a Virginian glad to be a westerner, or author to know & love Virginia. –Owen Twister
We call her Saint Virginia, little mother & friend of all. a sister of immaculate misconception & a belle of the ball…–Mammy
…spirit of the sunlight, humble as earth, mirth of the waterfall as it tumbles towards rebirth. — Swami Ribber