Monday, June 6, 2011


I remember Jerry coming out to Dad's summer camp, Homestead, back in the early 70's. He and Maggie would come visit, and sometimes Jerry would lecture. I had generally disliked the morning lectures, because I felt that was time taken away from a summer day that should be spent swimming, doing some craftsy activity at a workshop, or just watching grass and flowers grow. Jerry's lectures changed all that.

I will never forget that crisp summer morning decades ago. Jerry stood under those tall pines bordering Moose Pond, and drew magical parallels between Medusa and octopus from the sea. Sitting next to a sparkling boulder covered in mica and lichen, Jerry opened my eyes to everlasting truths behnd stories that are so often casually dismissed as "myths."

For example, Medusa was famous for her head of hair that was made of living snakes. The octopus has such a feature attached to it. Medusa lived a life of hermitage, as do octopi. They blend and disappear into their surroundings, appearing only long enough to catch prey or move to another hiding place. Medusa did not seek the company of others, people came to her. This is the way of the octopus as well. It camouflages itself into its surroundings, and food swims, crawls, or lands in the octopus's hiding spot. Medusa was known for turning those who gazed upon her into stone. The octopus stuns its visitors, renders them immobile, and devours them. When threatened, the octopus disappears in a cloud of ink, like a legendary assassin.

When Jerry's lecture was over, I knew that Medusa had not been slain. It was an ugly rumor in mythical form. I knew Medusa was alive and well - living a life of self chosen, blissful solitude, in the salty depths of the sea.

Every time Jerry came out to visit, I would toss whatever plans I might have had for that day. Instead, I would go do something REALLY exciting . I would plant myself among his loyal listeners and immerse myself in the magic, the brilliance, the gentleness, and the light that always seemed to radiate from his words, his smile, and his wisdom.

When I grow up, I want to be like that.

-- Cori (Ertha) Fukuchi

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