I spent a day with brother John and his wife Jeannie at their beautiful condo with a view of the sound and a walk in Discovery Park (550 acres!, with old growth forest and many trails: an old military base), and fabulous dinner — and then, yesterday, headed by ferry —
to Vashon for an overnight visit with my dear old crone friend Claudia, with whom I have been “processing” emotional, mental, dreamtime, and spiritual “stuff” since the mid-1980s.
I would say that of all the crones, it is Claudia who has most “influenced” me, in that what she “brings to the table” is so extraordinarily rich and full that I have a hard time being around her for all that long without being driven to exhaustion. Not because she sucks up energy, but because the richness she brings feels almost overwhelming to this relatively facile, superficial (compared to her!) woman. So, hats off to you, dear soul! Truth to tell, without Claudia’s presence in my life, I doubt I could have “worked through” my own strict, stern, ideological father-stuff. Until I met her, it had dominated my life; in her presence, the much vaster inner child in me felt supremely validated.
Here she is, in her wonderful store, Kronos, widely understood by those who live here as a part of the heart of Vashon Island. (Sorry, no website!) Though mostly clothes show up in this photo, the store contains an incredible variety of material objects, all picked with the quirky and discriminating eye of either Claudia or her equally talented daughter, Eugenie. For over 20 years they have run this unusual, many-layered store together — Eugenie: “It’s an experiment that never ended” – a very unusual arrangement in contemporary America. This too, is widely admired.
Meanwhile, at home a few miles inland, in their very limited spare time, they are carving out a permaculture wonderland on 2.5 acres, with another 2.5 acres of woodlands behind. Really an extraordinary place, with lots of stories to tell, including a young deer whom they befriended, who played with their old cat, and who would come directly to the window to say hello.
Here’s Eugenie, looking like she just walked out of a medieval abbey . . .
And here’s the two of them standing in one of the gardens in which Eugenie personally added enough soil to level the land before even beginning the garden itself. Lots of fruit and vegetables intersperse with whatever else wants to grow there.
Their outside seating area reminds me of European village life . . .
Their home is equally quirky; notice the nude statue on left as you enter. I remember that statue from their home in San Francisco, back in the early ’80s, when I would go there as an astrologer, stay in their spacious apartment in the Castro, and read astrological charts for Claudia’s friends, many of them gay men, who were then, as a subculture, recently stunned into quiescence by the new phenomenon called AIDS.
When I showed this post to Claudia and Eugenie they looked at this picture, and Eugenie wondered: should we turn the nude statue around? Claudia: “No. I like her that way. She’s looking inside, with two of my paintings.”
Oops! Almost forgot their young intact male poodle, Perseus, who rules with a merry, fun-loving, bounding presence, and, Claudia says, “. . . changes the weather. Because in his presence, everybody’s always laughing.”