Saturday, March 22, 2014

Judy Harrow (1945--2014)

I want to write about Judy, but it's too hard. It's like I'm standing too close to something, trying to take a picture. Nothing comes into focus. It's all too big to fit into the frame.

She was family. I guess that's what it comes down to. She could be maddening; she could be irascible. She sang off key; she made mistakes.

She had the most astonishing students you could imagine; she was smart and disciplined and passionate, and she adored reaching out to people she imagined might be more those things than she was. She was righteous to a fault, absolutely dedicated to Pagan movement and the Craft, and probably constitutionally incapable of compromising her ethics. She loved scholarship and scholars, she loved innovation and music... and she loved her community.

Photo used by permission:
Chuck Furnace 2014
She was the first person to call me a "Pagan elder," and her saying it was part of what made it true, what made me think I could maybe live up to that.

She loved Woolman Hill, the Quaker retreat center where NELCOG used to meet. We took her up there, years later, on a visit. We gave her a wand taken from the apple tree there.

Peter is on the board there, now. They're actually up on the hill tonight, for a retreat... I told Peter to bring back a twig from that apple tree to go on the altar. For Judy.

She was always afraid of being forgotten, and could never quite understand why she never would be.  I knew she was ill... but I could never quite understand I would not always get to share a world with her.

She was my friend.

I am not ready to put her face on my ancestor altar. I really am not.


Go in peace, Judy Harrow.  Go with the love of your extended family, which was always so much bigger than you knew. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, so very much, for this reflection!

In thought,

/gwyneth

Cat C-B said...

I'm so pleased you found it, and that it spoke to you.

Blessings, Gwyneth.

There was an error in this gadget