Inez Castor

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


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