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Edythe Isobel DUDLEY
1925 - 2021
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EDYTHE "PENNY" ISOBEL DUDLEY December 4, 1925 - August 16, 2021 "Land of the silver birch Home of the beaver Where still the mighty moose Wanders at will Blue lake and rocky shore I will return once more" (Land of the Silver Birch) A lover of all things wild, Penny paddled her canoe across the Milky Way river at sunset on August 16, at age 95. Almost ten decades of living in deep communion with the natural world, where she found a sense of belonging, and where she was nourished with a sense of wonder by every bird, especially the chickadees, and by every wildflower, her favourites the purple shooting stars, spring crocus, white trilliums, and yellow moccasin flowers. Born in Coburg, mom lived in Ontario most her life, overlooking Scarborough Bluffs and its wooded ravines, while retreating to the family cabin, built by her late husband Kenneth, on the spruce and pine shoreline of our beloved Lucy Lake, near Algonquin Park. It is here where she was the happiest, tucked away from amenities, immersed in the world of wild animals and birds, walking the Beauty Path. Hours were spent collecting firewood, hauling lake water up the hill, picking wild berries, reading by oil lamps, and preparing traditional holiday meals on the kitchen woodstove. In winters, there were nights skating on the lake, listening to the wolves howl, and in summers, watching the beaver, otter and turtles. In later years, she would refer to the cabin as "the place where the little bears came." Whether riding her horse Judy in her youth, tending her rock gardens, feeding the wild fox who regularly visited, raising the family's Irish setters, huskies, and Australian Shepherds, mom was most at home in the non-human world. She had a difficult upbringing, and it was in the woods where she healed. She loved music and singing, and the regular "dos" that were held among friends playing guitars, pianos, fiddles and mandolins. And she was creative, sketching on scrap paper, pressing wildflowers, and penning poetry. Penny was respected for her volunteer work with the Toronto Zoo, especially guiding the non-sighted. She loved working among the tamarack geese with Marg Cozry of the Algonquians Sweetgrass Gallery, making many indigenous friends while a purchaser of soapstone carvings and First Nations art for the Hudson's Bay Company store in Toronto. Mom and dad lived in various places, from Ontario to Rivers, Manitoba, to Vancouver, and back again to Ontario. At age 69, she moved to Millarville, Alberta, where for 18 years she walked the land with the dogs, fed peppermints to the mule and donkeys, and delighted in the bears and deer who peeked through the window. Many fond memories were made at Ian Tyson concerts in the East Longview Hall, and during treks to Waterton and Field, BC. Mom is fondly remembered by her daughter, Wendy and all the animals; son, Jon (Karen); grandchildren, Casey (Colby) and Bryce (Dominique). She was predeceased by her sisters, Ruth and Bette. As mom would often cite from various sources, "Nature was my Peace Giver; it had no expectations of me save to enjoy, preserve and appreciate the gifts. Life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. In the bulb, there is a flower. In the seed, a willow tree. In cocoons, a hidden promise - butterflies will soon be free. So cast me to the wind, so I too shall be free." Safe journey, mom, as you are now blowing with four strong winds. May you always have a dog at your side, ravens overhead, moose in the woods, fox in the grass, and a chickadee in your hand. Say hi to dad when you meet with him on the portage trail, where you will once again push off from pebbled shores, to paddle the lakes of Algonquin, among the loons and bullfrogs, and against a backdrop of rock outcrops and autumn maples. You often said that paddling for you and dad was your meditation. Our gratitude to the staff at Staywell Manor in Calgary who tended to mom in a most loving way, and stood at her bedside to say their goodbyes, recalling her smile, her happiness, and her pioneer spirit. At her request, there will be no service. In Penny's memory, we would ask that you love Nature the way she did, and fight for its preservation and protection. And if you so choose, please donate to a Canadian wildlife charity. Photos, memories and condolences may be shared with Penny's family through www.evanjstrong.com. "My paddle's keen and bright Flashing with silver Follow the wild goose flight, Dip, dip and swing"

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Aug. 28 to Sep. 1, 2021.
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