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Gopher Gulch: What I had to say has been said

February in the woods was hard, but the iridescent magic of a solitary life steeped in the sights, sounds and scents of the forest was a joyful thing. It’s been said that every child has a normal life — except in retrospect. And so it was for me.

I grew up talking with frogs and fairies and the chuckling stream. I built dams and pools and forts, explored old mine shafts and climbed trees. When I got tired, I’d flop down and gaze up into a layered sky until I achieved the sensation of falling up. Childhood gave me an unusual perspective on what constitutes “reality.”

As an adult I worked instead of played, but my surroundings and my companions were the same. Always I was guided by an inner nudge, a presence some call guardian angels or spirit guides. I know it as Great Mystery, the force that flows through me and out onto the page in this lopsided conversation begun two decades ago.

It seems that our time together is over and this is the last Gopher Gulch column. This is entirely my own decision. I don’t think people always believed me when I said it came through me, not from me.

In truth, I didn’t know it was ending until some intensity pouring out onto the page piqued my attention more than usual. I’ve never worked at the column. It simply happens, like tsunamis, and I try to get out of the way. Sometimes I’m more aware than others of what’s being written, and right now I find myself a bit shaken as I realize what’s being written is my swan song.

It’s been wonderful and I’ve loved every minute of it, but some inner knowing, the same knowing that started this philosophical ramble, says it’s time to stop. Whatever you needed to hear through me has been said and “the pen, having writ, moves on.” I don’t know what life will be like now and have no idea what Great Mystery has in store for me next. I didn’t know my life was about to undergo a huge transition until just now.

Perhaps I’m to become an elder version of the child that I was, playing in the woods and water. We’ll see each other in stores and parking lots as we always have. I hope to remain a part of the Triplicate family. Great Mystery will provide new voices to write of warmth and kindness, of cabbages and kings. They’re right here in our community, a generation or two younger than me and in touch with the world of today.  

I wouldn’t have missed our visits in the paper, in person, via email and telephone, for the world! It’s an honor to share life and love with you and I expect to continue doing so. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but you can’t stand around with one foot on the dock and one in the boat.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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