I have sad news to share-- Holden wrote to tell me that our friend, Isabel, passed away suddenly last week.
Those of you who were on the trip in 2009 and/or 2010 surely remember Isabel. I met her in the parlor at Monhegan House one night in 2009 when she joined our group for a spell. Though Isabel wasn't officially on the trip with us, she was staying at the house and she knitted. Isabel was one of those rare people in life who, the moment you met her, your whole world got both more exciting and calmer at once.
I had such a wonderful time getting to know Isabel and we kept in touch by email and snail mail. I let her know the dates of the 2010 trip. She had a scheduling conflict but miraculously that resolved. She and her husband Joe arranged to come to Monhegan to coincide with our trip. I was thrilled.
I can still hear her voice, that lovely English accent, all those kind and encouraging words. Of the many things she taught me in our short time together, my favorite was what I'll call the Lesson of the Loupe. Isabel carried a little jeweler's loupe with her when she was out hiking. She'd stop often, bend down to the tiniest flower, and examine it through the loupe, revealing details the naked eye could not see. And then she would proclaim, "MAGNIFICENT!"
I was so taken by this that when I came home and told Ori about it, he got me a loupe. I take it with me everywhere. And so, yes, I take Isabel with me everywhere. I am going to miss her so much. I wrote a longer memorial for her over at my blog. I hope you'll take time, in memory of Isabel, to stop and check out the tiny, gorgeous details of life. What an inspiration she was!