A very great lady died yesterday, after taking an afternoon walk in the sunshine. She would have been 92 in June.
The first time I ever took a walk with Lucy was in the woods. I was 13, she was 78, and she out-hiked me on every hill. I needed the tea and minestrone that she cooked up in the comfort of her VW van that day more than she did.
I have had the great privilege of hearing Lucy speak on her life to me, tea in hand, memory on full power, and wit never far from easy reach. I’ve been working on a book about Lucy for a while, and hope to have it finished this year. But this post is not for promotion – it is for remembering.
Lucy loved the woods – the mountains were never far from her thoughts or her courageous step, (she climbed over 40 of them, large and small, local and foreign) and her poetry on the subject is simple, heartfelt and breathtaking.
I hope that her sentiments in the beautiful little poem, “Day Dreaming”, written when Lucy was sixteen years old, have finally come true for her.
I have a favourite day-dream
Which, cherished and caressed,
Should one day come to something–
Not fade like all the rest.
I think of fresh, green, open fields,
Of cows in the cow-byre,
With horses grazing to and fro–
As I gaze into the fire.
Then next I think of fluffy chicks,
Scratching up all the while,
And pretty little ducklings white–
Enough to make one smile.
Then, too, I think of new-mown hay,
The pride of sturdy reapers.
Nearby a spacious farmhouse bright
Covered with ivy creepers.
A place to rest when one is hot,
Beside a little brook;
The elm trees dotted on the bank
Forming a shady nook.
A snap is heard: ah, what is that?
The fire is burning low.
The rest of my dream?–a secret,
Myself and the embers know.
Lucy would never take a road if she could take a trail or a path, and spent her life in awe of the beautiful, wild world of nature, and its Creator.
I long for the forest so shady and cool
Where beavers are lapping,
And woodpeckers flapping…
I wish I could join in the large, happy throng,
That plays in that pleasant shade all day long.
Where we do not find anger,
But instead peace and langour;
But no-one troubles a bit that I hanker
to be in the forest with laughter and song.
She’s slipped into the forest finally, surrounded by the many friends and Guiders who went into the woods before her, no doubt being greeted with laughter and song.
In a poem she wrote when she was 14, she wonders about the woods at night:
Losing my way in the forest,
Where all was dark and green,
I wondered what would happen
If I never more was seen.”
Well, Lucy, you were seen by many who loved, respected, adored and admired you. You were definitely seen, and you will be missed.