Several things happened out here in the last week. For one, Dottie lost her second front top tooth and now sports a classic almost-six-year-old gapped grin. The sunflowers in the field starting blooming in earnest. And we enjoyed a few days of genuinely clear, blue skies (in between days of smoke).
But one story eclipses them all (though not an actual eclipse — that was last year at this time): a visitor to the island went missing on Saturday night just down the road from our farm and has yet to be found after a massive 300+ person search operation. More information can be found about the situation here:
- An early “YamCo Watch” Facebook post about the disappearance
- An update on the search efforts
- Yamhill County Sheriff suspends search
- Next … ?
It’s been surreal, to say the least, to have our quiet rural island turned inside out as everyone (including lots of islanders) searched for this person. It has also been deeply sad, frustrating, and scary as she still hasn’t been found.
This was Casey and my second experience of being involved in a search and rescue operation near our home. I wrote last year about the earlier experience, which occurred when we lived in the wilderness in Washington. We never found that person after a week of searching in the wilderness, and now we are wrestling again with all the emotions that come from a [so far] unsuccessful rescue operation.
We’re also pondering how much, if at all, we should change our understanding of this place we call home. Much remains a mystery at this point. This story is still in progress, it seems, making it hard to really write about it clearly with everything so raw and fresh and uncertain here on the island.
One thing that was certain: we have amazing neighbors. This shared search effort demonstrated once again how good-hearted, brave, and compassionate they are. The early search efforts were led by people from another county, who don’t know the island and all its vast fields and wild areas well. Immediately, people from the island stepped up and accompanied the searchers. Those who couldn’t help go out and search took the time to thoroughly assess their own property or helped spread the word to other neighbors. Though none of us knew the missing person, there was a sense of shared responsibility for helping someone in need.
The wider community pitched in on a massive level too. Within hours of a Facebook post announcing the search, it had been “shared” over 2,000 times. People from all over Yamhill County offered to help search. Others offered to help support the search by cooking and feeding people. People stepped up, using their own free time to volunteer.
So, even though we’re grappling with the ramifications of a deeply sad, worrisome, and scary event, I find myself feeling as grounded as ever here at home, connected to the people here and beyond who care. Though I’ve been up at night worrying, ultimately home still feels really sweet.
Last night was the first quiet evening since Sunday here on the island. As Casey and I sat reading before bed, the dark gathered outside the open windows, accompanied by the ambient island sounds drifting through. We heard crickets and the unmistakable hum of a swather driving down the road to a field. They were the sound of business-as-usual on the island, of this place and its creatures and people doing the things they do. I found it so comforting, even as I continued (and continue) to hold prayers and hopes in my heart for this very hard situation. In so much of life, we find ourselves in these paradoxes of emotions and realities: joy and peace running up against fear and grief. I used to be confused by how those tensions could hold in place, but with more experience I see that the tension of these seemingly disparate experiences is really what we call life.
Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers and positive thoughts for everyone involved. Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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CSA payment reminder! If you haven’t had a chance yet to pay the remainder of your CSA balance, please do so ASAP! Thanks!
Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Salad mix