Charles Elders

Charles B. Elders, July 6, 1932-April 10, 2002. Beloved son of the late Bernard and Frances; survived by brothers Paul (and sister-in-law Diana) of Rio Rico, Ariz.; and Barney (and sister-in-law Pamela) of Santa Cruz, Calif. Seaman and traveler. Self-educated scholar of history, music, and philosophy. Loner and friend. Lover of nature. Gentle tough guy. Remembered fondly. At home in Oak Harbor for 15 years. Thanks, Whidbey, for your beauty and friendship (Yvonne, the Doxtaders, Thelma, the crew at Pony Mailing and Chuck’s, Meg Johnson, Home Health, Therese, caregivers, and all others). As Charles would say, “So long and good luck.”

“The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder, The wing trails like a banner in defeat, No more to use the sky forever but live with famine And pain a few days: cat nor coyote Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons. He stands under the oak-bush and waits The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it….the great redtail Had nothing left but unable misery From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved. We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom, He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death, Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old Implacable arrogance. I gave him the lead gift in the twilight. What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.” (Robinson Jeffers)

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