I lost a good friend this year. Our last communication was in March. We talked then about education, about my son, about writing and about another gathering, hopefully before the end of 2011.
Our friendship spanned three decades. At first we were just coworkers - so different in style and personality yet clicking in true ways. When work relationship grew to friendship, we became sharers of dreams. And we had so many good discussions about writing. So many laughs, too -- It was a joyful friendship.
After our professional lives traveled in different directions, the friendship, though long-distance, remained on track. We were partners on different levels that included a bonding of our souls. So no matter how infrequent the phone calls, the emails or the visits - once these occurred there was no lost momentum in what we shared. I am forever grateful for her introducing my son to the authentic and wild open spaces of the west and to ranching experiences.
I'll never forget the hilarious encounters of her trying to teach me how to feed horses and goats -- and I'm sure she didn't forget these times either. There was an evening or two of her helping me reawaken a love of knitting. She gave me lessons in perseverance, remaining professionally alert, reaching for new horizons.
Karen Clymer - United Parcel Service editor, animal lover, dog trainer, American Herding association judge with national credentials, spinner, college instructor and friend - died April 2, 2011. I am heartbroken without my dear friend. She was my inspiration and the real cowgirl. Most important of all, Karen was a good, generous, spiritual, loving, enthusiastic, business-savvy, creative individual. Selfishly I feel the loss so deeply, but I turn to all the strong and happy memories for some comfort.
Karen, what a crazy but joyful place was your Solarwind Ranch!!!! I thank all of Karen's good friends in Chino Valley and Prescott for taking care of Karen's animal family - her dogs, her horse, her sheep-goats-ducks. My prayers to Karen's brothers, family and foster children who remain.
I wrote in 2008:
While I was still a New Yorker, Karen gave me my first taste of pioneering life. I loved the times I could visit her ranch, where I was awed by endless wild Arizona spaces and mountains, and where I first learned to haul hay to the horses and Karen’s “ark” assortment of ducks, goats, sheep and border collies. Karen may not call herself a cowgirl (she’s a county fair supervisor, border collie rescue and breeder, herding and obedience trial judge, friend and loving foster mother rolled into one). But, to me, Karen personifies the independence and strength of extraordinary women called cowgirls. They were the foundation of the families who helped settle the American Southwest. I tip my hat to my cowgirl friend Karen (shown in photo with Silver, in a pix taken by Leigh Spigelman)
Be at peace, good friend. I wish I could write as well as you have. May I celebrate community, humanity and love of animals as purely as you did. May I pursue my life with your passion and authenticity. Walk with me still. You are in my heart always.
Karen Marie Clymer
October 19, 1948 - April 2, 2011