Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goodbye Kit

Nice to be back to say hello. I lost a dear cousin a week ago to cancer. Katherine Vinal, or Kit, was my oldest cousin and my Aunt Willa and Uncle Lester's first of eight children. She was magnificent both inside and out. Kit was fearless, compassionate, funny, street smart (she proved it possible for someone from Maine), defender of the underdog, could calm a nervous horse, explain how an owl's digestion track worked, our clan leader, and seemed more goddess than human to us younger cousins trailing behind her. For the last 30 years she lived with her husband Dale, in Fort Fairfield Maine on their sheep farm. She managed a veterinary practice for a doctor where they tended mostly farm animals and many lost and wounded wild animal. Any homeless creature within 60 miles of Kit would somehow find their way to her. Two weeks before she died, barely able to walk she was baking bread. I will miss her wicked sense of humor, compassionate strength and being able to start a conversation right where we left off, years before. When I got the news, I went and told my chickens. This Mary Oliver poem has always seemed to me, to be written for Kit. The image is one of my pastel paintings to see more you can go here.

Making the House Ready for the Lord

-Mary Oliver
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
   Still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you.  Under the sink, for example, is an
  uproar of mice—it is the season of their
many children.  What shall I do?  And under the eaves
   and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances—but it is the season
   when they need shelter, so what shall I do?  And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
   while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do?  Beautiful is the new snow falling
   in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door.  And still I believe you will
   come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
   that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon:  Come in, Come in.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. What a beautiful poem you have chosen as a tribute.

  2. that poem seems like it was written for kit -- heard mary read her poetry at 4c's a year ago october -- she speaks right through the soul...may kit soar wherever she is now and wishing you good healing...

  3. that must have been amazing to hear read her own words.