Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Friendly Convergence


A van of us guys from the Men's Group, organized by Joe Snyder and borrowing the Reedwood van (thank you Friends!), got to Mapleton, Oregon and back in one day.  That's the freeway age for ya.  With time to spare I might add.

Wes had all kinds of ties to Oregon Friends that I'm only just learning about.  Our Stark Street meeting traces back to College Park Association in California, and Iowan Friends striking out on their own upon being disowned by their brethren.  So be it.  The brand "Religious Society of Friends" would not be surrendered.

On the other hand, Gurneyites moved west also, and their trajectory takes other forms, namely Northwest Yearly Meeting, distinct from the more Hicksite flavored North Pacific Yearly Meeting, of which Multnomah Meeting on Stark Street is a member.

Wes Voth traces his schooling back to Newberg, Oregon.  These are more the Hooverite Friends associated with George Fox University (GFU).  There's overlap with Liberal Friends on many fronts, but if you're a scholar of the Quaker lineage, you know we're prone to forking, and don't always think that's a bad thing.

Politics aside, Wes Voth was a naturalist and his thinking was deeply informed by the natural patterns of his watershed.  It may be a cliche to think of watersheds as the lungs of the planet.  They are integral to the way fish live their lives, and thereby serve at the basis of many a food chain.

Pacific ocean salmon start and end their lives in these rivers and rivulets, adding their carcasses to the inland soil, fertilizing rainforests.  Ecosystems don't run on fumes, much as fumes matter.

Wes knew all these basics like the back of his hand, and then could go on about the smaller details, in ways a city rat like me can only marvel at, and I did.  At our last meetup at Great Bear Camp for example.  He sat at his feet, slurping up the lore of the land.

The memorial service was held at the Lions Club which shares digs with the Mapleton Public Library, what used to be a public school.  The meeting hall, which doubles as a theater and gymnasium, was packed with just about everyone in Mapleton, not a big town.  Out of towners rounded out the crowd.

We all respected Wes a lot for his honesty and respectful ways.  He served as a postal carrier in this later chapter, and had maybe just recently retired?  We felt his departure was all too soon.

This was Veterans Day, or Armistice Day as some call it.  Among the songs we sang, was one of Wes's favorites (mine too, for its check on nationalism): This is My Song with lyrics by by Lloyd Stone and Georgia Harkness, to the score of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.  It's in our Quaker hymnal.