Passages & Changes

May has brought a lot of changes to many of us. Weather has been unpredictable and unusual all throughout the world. No less here in Big Sur. One week it has been in the high 80s and the next, I must find my long-johns and comforter, again. It can vary from one day to the next, or one week to the next. I have called it the Schizophrenic Spring – having delusions of being winter.

It is also the month I lost two friends of over 20 years – both Big Surians, and both South Coasters. I usually try to avoid announcing these types of passages on the internet, as when I was in Peru, that is how I found out about the loss of one of my dear friend’s husband. I could not breathe when I read about it, and then spent several hundreds of dollars trying to get the details. But these passages are a part of life, and right now, a big part of this coast.

Earlier, Rock Bob finally lost his battle with cancer. Some of you will remember him from his Salmon Creek days. That’s when I first met him 26 years ago. The last 15 years or so of his life, he spent in town with the woman he loved and who loved him. He was a man who lived in the extremes – quietly and well. HIs memorial has had to be postponed until the Alder Creek slide clears, as he has so many friends south of it and an equal number north of it. Right now, Barbara and I have tentatively set it for the Sunday after the Fourth. He and Barbara loved to come down and host a Fourth of July party at Sand Dollar Beach, and we discussed that time for the memorial, but the crowds may be here, friends may be away for a long weekend, and so we have discussed the following weekend. Of course, it all depends on the road. Rock Bob will be with me always, as good friends are.

Today, we lost the Queen of Flowers, Caroline Provost. I first met her when we both worked at Pacific Valley Center in 1989 – she as a waitress, and me in the gift shop. Caroline never aged in the 22 years I have known her – not a year. Her smile lit up the room and her gardens were legendary. She has always been the gracious lady with the big heart. Her death was sudden from an aneurysm she suffered yesterday at home. She was airlifted first to Paso Robles and then to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, where this morning, after a CAT scan, she was pronounced brain dead. Her family was there with her during those final hours. I cannot even imagine what her daughters, Nicole and Michelle, are going through, but they have my thoughts tonight, along with her husband, Jerry, who just recently returned home after his own stroke. It is a passage that will touch me for a long time. I will long see that little dynamo in my mind and my heart.

I have been “offline” for several days due to a “mini-vacation” and then for another two days due to internet trouble, and now I return to share sad news. I debated long and hard about posting this tonight, but I could not go on reporting as if nothing untoward had happened, without mentioning that which has touched most of my Big Sur family today.

I will miss both of you. We all will. Namasté