Yesterday was Ken’s Memorial Service. After hearing Ken say frequently after a funeral, “That minister (priest) didn’t even know …. (fill in name of deceased).” Like writing his obituary, I decided to take on the planning for the service. I have a tendency to be that little red hen in the children’s story.
First I realized an open air setting would be best, but I wanted a shelter in case of rain. Then I started making lists of types of music Ken liked – it is a diverse list from baroque to folk to hand drumming to chanting. I also considered what ideas and quotes best reflected Ken’s approach to life – spiritual, engaged, his professions, hobbies and philosophy.
I arranged with musicians who could play that weekend; I designed a program and sent it to our printer. At the first table people got programs and signed a guest book with space for Ken stories
Music started with hand drumming.
I chose readings. I chose first from Ecclesiastes:
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever (1:4)
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.(1:9)
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away;
A time to rend , and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (3: 1-8)
All go unto one place; all are of dust, and all turn to dust again (3:20)
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? (3:22)
Then I read psalm 16
Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
O my soul , thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth to thee:
And to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
The Lord is the portion on mine inheritance and my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reigns also instruct me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Then our friend Tammy played two hymns. And then there were pottery quotes that reflected his philosophy and approach and resulting pottery:
“…the pots I admired most …were the quietest pots…The focus of his work is the most concentrated and personally expressive. This quality has been apparent for…years. The feeling in his pots comes from a high inspiration…He draws his strength from the soil of his own nature and his life experience.” Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman
And “A good potter cannot treat his raw materials merely as a means of production; he treats them as they deserve to be treated, with love. He cannot make things merely as utensils; he makes them as they have a right to be, as things with a life of their own. When a potter not only knows his job, but delights in it, when technique and inspiration become identified, the glow of life will begin to appear in his pots. Nobody can say in rational terms exactly what this glowing consists of. or how the inanimate can be capable of transmitting life from the maker to its user, but it is a fact of common experience.
This aspect of pottery is not always discernable to a first casual inspection; but provided it is in daily use, it will gradually become visible, just as good character comes to be appreciated only through continued acquaintance.” Michael Cardew, Pioneer Pottery
Mary T played Give yourself to Love and we joined the chorus
We did a buddhist chant from Japan as Ken loved both chanting and the time we spent in Japan:
YO BUTSU U IN
YO BUTSU U EN
BU PO SOEN
JO RAKU GA JO
CHO NEN KANZEON
BO NEN KANZEON
NEN NEN JU SHIN KI
NEN NEN FU RI SHIN
(repeat five times)
At one with Buddha!
Related to Buddha
In cause and effect,
Having affinity for
Buddha, Dharama* and Sangha*.
Our True Nature is
Eternal, Joyous, Selfless and Pure.
So let us chant every morning Kanzeon,
So let us chant every evening Kanzeon,
This very moment arises from Mind.
This very moment is not separate from Mind.
*Kanzeon is the bodhisattva of compassion. A bodhisattva is a person who has attained nirvana(heaven), but comes back to help us here.
*Dharma is cosmic law
*Sangha is community
Then Janette and Dianne played first waltzes and then Bach
Then I read from one of Ken’s favorite authors – Wendell Berry. I found one that mirrored Ken’s approach to work:
“He wanted to finish the row, and there was not much left. With the end of the row and day in sight, he worked easily, easily and fast, as if he were going downhill. He worked swiftly and accurately to the end of the row until there was no more ahead of him, and he was done. Weariness then seemed to flow downward through his body, and with it came an old elation… It was all his own work, done in quietness that extended over the whole afternoon and that seemed present. In that quietness, and now complete, his work was lovely to him, and he walked along beside it, reluctant to leave.” Wendell Berry from A Friend of Mine
Another from Wendell Berry reflected Ken’s position in the community of local growers: “In all their minds his voice lies beneath a silence. And in the hush of it they are aware of something that passed from them and now returns: his stubborn biding with them to the end, his keeping of faith with them who would live after him, and what perhaps none has thought yet to call his gentleness, his long gentleness toward them and toward this place where they are at work. They know that his memory holds them in common knowledge and common loss. The like of him will not live again soon in this world, and they will not forget him.” Wendell Berry’s novel The Memory of Old Jack
And finally a reading to remind us all of his love of dance and Anni Spring played a dance tune. “Most Saturday nights he knew of a dance to be held, sometimes miles away. And he would go, washing and dressing after work in haste to be gone. For he loved the music and the mingling, the drink and the talk, and the laughter of the dances they used to have back in those old days. Women moved him. And he was a man subject to music as grass to wind. And he was a gifted dancer. And he could be carried away”. Wendell Berry’s novel The Memory of old Jack
Friends helped set up a table of treats and beverages. So many people brought food – thank you all!
And we visited for about an hour.
Thank you to all who helped, and all those who came to share and celebrate, and thanks to Russ Borud for the photos!