Moonwater was the first person I saw when I flew into Eugene from New York in 1979, and she was the last person I saw when I left for New Mexico six years later. I was an escapee from New York, pregnant with my first child, and had no idea what to expect. My sister, Danelle, was living with everyone at Sarvis Berry and she and Moonwater came to the airport to pick me up. It was April 30, 1979 and I was 18; it was my first plane ride. I remember putting myself and my baby, who turned out to be Joshua, in God´s hands.
When I first saw Moonwater she was named June but she already had that mystique that made her special. I remember talking with her on the way out to Sarvis Berry and she was trying to prepare me for the fact that Sarvis Berry and life in Oregon was going to be nothing like my life in New York. I told her it was ok, and then we talked about something spiritual that had to do with a flower opening. I guess it was my first spiritual conversation with anyone. I´m afraid I somewhat latched onto Moonwater, since I was like a newborn chick just out of the nest. Probably I got on her nerves sometimes. But I remember some really fun times at Sarvis Berry.
I planted the pumpkins because Moonwater thought a pregnant woman should plant pumpkins. I guess we later got busted because of what else besides pumpkins was growing in our garden. As I remember, Dennis was the only one they took away. But he came back shortly thereafter. And I remember giving Elana a bath, and combing the tangles out of her hair. And going to the Excelsior with Moonwater and Suzanne and spending most of my check on one extravagant lunch. Seems like in those days we didn´t worry about the next meal. I also remember Cherie helping me when I was tripping at Cougar Hot Springs. It was the first time I remember noticing how motherly and shining Cherie is. And I remember helping get Adam ready for school in the mornings. We all helped out with the kids at Sarvisberry.
The last time I saw Moonwater, it was in the Keystone Cafe. Just a ¨chance¨meeting but it happened to be the very moment I was leaving Eugene for New Mexico, where I spent the next nearly 20 years. She hugged me good-bye and wished me well. I remember that we had drifted by then, after Sarvis Berry broke up. I was living in Springfield, in the same apartment Stony and Cathy and later Moonwater had lived in. I remember thinking that Moonwater was saying goodbye to me with a profundity I could not account for. I guess I thought I would see her around sometime. As it turned out, it was the last time I saw her alive.
It is difficult to express who Moonwater was to me. A mentor, certainly. A wise woman whom I admired. What stands out to me about Moonwater was her love and sorrow, which, when I knew her, she seemed to possess in equal measure. Now that I am older, I understand the Sorrow better than I did then. I hope I am beginning to understand the Love.