(Don Case) Finding a bowl-buddha

Don Case, sorting through the rubble of his home. Photo (and title) by Joyce Duffy. (Thank you Joyce!)

Joyce asked me to “pass this around” and so I am posting it here. It so poignantly captures the heartbreak of loss, I was honored that she asked me to share it. Feel free to leave Don Case, Panny, Josh, Neva, and Joyce Duffy your messages in the comment section (just click on comments), and I will make sure she sees each one of them and will notify her of each new post. Namasté, my friends and family.

11 thoughts on “(Don Case) Finding a bowl-buddha

  1. Joyce, I, a wordsmith by profession, cannot find the words to describe my anguish when I see this incredible photograph. It such a beautiful photograph of such incredible destruction. It so perfectly conveys the heartbreak of a loss as large as this one.

    I do not remember if I ever told you, but my brother lost his house in the SoCal fires last October. They barely had time to get out with just their many animals. He lost 40 years of his art work. How does one count the cost of that? And there is always something else he remembers he no longer has. He is getting to the point where he recognizes that it was only “things” but it has taken him this long — 9 months. It can be a long grieving process, although his wife got through her attachments to the “things” quite fast.

    I can only hope for you the blessing of your many friendships, the closeness of your extended family, and the support of the entire Big Sur community. You know we are all there for you. All you have to do is ask.

    We all love you, and mourn with you.


  2. Don…hello and heart-felt condolences from Tzila and Tobias. We were so sad to hear you lost your home. We think of you fondly, and wish you well in your new beginning.

  3. All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else—Buddha.

    You will be surrounded by those who love you and help will be heaped upon your heart and soul Don…always know that what is lost is returned doubly in kind.

  4. To Don Case, Penny, Josh, Neva, and Joyce Duffy,

    We havent met, I dont think!, but Ive been coming to Big Sur since 1975. I live in Alameda now, and just want you to know that my prayers go out to you, and that I know that the community of Big Sur, and the world, will in unforseen ways reach out to help you all.

    The Buddah – white and clear, in this picture, sort of says it all..

    Be strong – you are loved.

    Jeff Oster

  5. To Don and family,
    I was devastated to hear of your loss. I fondly remember a good portion of my childhood happily spent at your house with by best friend Gabe and can only imagine how you must feel. I offer my sincerest condolances and wish you the best of luck with a new beginning.

    Erik DeGroat

  6. Don– Your thoughtfulness has been touching to us- (Dad and Mom) same goes to your great kids! We’re here for you… Lets get a work day together!

  7. Dear Joyce and Don,
    When I first heard from Suzi and Lisa about losing your home, I was in shock. The loss in fire struck really close to home to me, as we worried all last Summer about the massive Idaho fires that raged just east of our cabin and land here, and we sweated it out, until the “season ending event” finally came and we “dodged the bullet”. Now, seeing your picture strikes another wave of sadness within me, but at the same time, I see that little Buddha sitting unscathed and serene in the midst of the devastation…just like the one at Tassajare (you probably have seen that photo on Xasuan). I have thought many times with thankfulness that you and your family (and many others) escaped with your lives. Where there is life, there is hope. You were so near the “ground zero”, and the fire must have given you a very brief window of escape. I know the strength you possess…remember that Roundup article I wrote about you, and you responded “I’d like to meet that woman”? All that I said was REAL, and not just “horn-tooting”. And Don, I have always known you as a true resilient ‘mountain man’. So again I say that I have faith that prosperity and good karma will be ahead of you in a great way. That Buddha is a first sign, just like the beginning sprout from a seed. Let’s make next year at P.V. School a great one…Joyce, we will both be settling into our teaching work there, and maybe we can do some kind of collaboration that expresses the healing that is now just beginning.
    For now, may you heal and build peace.
    All my blessings to you.
    And I mean it!

  8. MJ C-L has the right idea. Work PARTY!! Let us know when, and I will help line up the So Coast troops. Geri has already voluntered. (Sorry Joyce, no spell check, and no matter WHAT I do, I can not find the correct spelling!) You know the kind of work Geri can and does. And Jasmine!! Geri just told me, she & Eric lost everything!

    When the Plaskett II fire started in 2000, Geri was here in a heartbeat, telling me what to pack, climbing on the roof to get the tarp off, ordering us all around (well, you know Geri) and it was great. She, and the others, got me out of there, with everything I needed in 1/2 an hour. Having lost her home, she agreed that the clean-up is the hardest part.

    We are all there for you. Just pick the date, and let me know.

    Love to all of you who lost your homes.

  9. Please pass on to Joyce, Don and all the family my deepest sorrow for their loss. I have lost two homes due to fire. I do know how they feel. I also know that throught the love and support of friends, family and the tribe of those who choose to be here, I was able to rebuild and start my life over again. This community loves them all with the love that only a tribe of Big Surians can understand. Please pass on to them that I will help in any way needed. All they need to do is ask. Love Avis

  10. All my love to you and the family Don. So many years of warmth and love spent at the homestead, it is an ache to see such a raw image. I found an old photo of me below the deck, with the canyon and Pacific as the backdrop…you can see hawks wheeling in the clear air below. I am here for you all in any way I can be…just let me know what I can do to help in the process of healing. With deep love and abiding respect,

    Melissa Marron

  11. Don,

    Looking at the photo of you amidst the ashes of your home has left me with
    mixed feelings. First there is sadness for your loss, your family, the Big
    Sur community, and the land itself. But, as the Buddha statue, reminds me
    of the impermanence of all phenomena, I feel optimistic that renewal will
    arise from this tragedy. That hunk of wood down the hill, The Phoenix,
    carved by my old neighbour Edmond, is a symbol that everything arises from
    the ashes. The Big Sur itself will surely do the same.

    Nonetheless, when Elaine Trotter informed me that you had lost your house, I
    took it a little personally. In 1972 I lost my home, all my possessions, my
    writings and even the shirt off my back to a fire that nearly took my life
    as well. That was in Vancouver and Richard and Elaine Trotter took me in.
    Later, after they moved back to Big Sur, I met you and spent many a day with
    Richard helping with the initial stages of construction of your house. Our
    boys, Ian, Morgan and Gabe played while we worked. That was good therapy
    for me and subsequent to that I moved down myself. So I do feel a little of
    what you must be going through.

    You are a resilient man and part of the Big Sur. I have no doubt that you
    will grow stronger for this and that renewal is the forecast. Perhaps we
    will bump into each other later this year when I hope to visit Big Sur. You
    are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.

    Ardy Verhaegen

    (posted by Kate, at Ardy’s request)

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