A open letter to Canadian Storyteller Jennifer Cayley
I don’t like this club we’re in now Jennifer; the sudden accidental death of a loved one. Jan, like Rod was such an intrepid adventurer who lived live to the full, it’s still so hard to fathom that she is gone.
But her love extended across the world to Australia and I thank my stars that I reached out to the email that dropped in my inbox around 2005. I have a spare bed please visit me, I answered.
When I picked her up I thought she looked like a conservative little grandma, but oh, I was so wrong. We bought a few beers on the way home and didn’t stop talking story for the week she was here and had been firm friends ever since.
I was so happy when you finally visited Australia with Jan and presented your show “A Book of Spells” in my home town at our gay and lesbian festival. I was just so proud to know you both and your pioneering story work.
There was the storytelling masterclass in Montreal and the festival and a week at your house on the lake just out of Ottawa, where Rod moved that whole stack of wood to under the house for you. I suppose there is new load in the driveway, you, too numb to move it
But a moment just Jan and I shared was when I had some work up on the Murray River, the border between Victoria and NSW. She was in town for something and I asked would she like to come on a little adventure with me? While I told stories she went off bird watching, and later in the day she picked me up and we went to another spot she had wanted to explore.
She spotted some particular bird of interest and noted in her field guide book the date and that she was with me. I always felt so chuffed that I was now part of her passion for birds and nature and her life story.
There is an old spiritual belief of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, who are the traditional owners where I live. They believe the souls of the ancestors live in the birds.
I wonder what bird Jan will visit you as?
I am so sorry for your loss and look forward to the day where we can hug and cry and drink a few beers to toast our old darlings
Lots of love
Anne E Stewart