Obituary: Walker Owen Greacen

Owen_edited-1Walker Owen Greacen died on Saturday, July 18 in an all-terrain vehicle accident at his grandparents’ land in northwestern New Mexico. The son of Greta de la Montagne of Bayside and Scott Greacen of Arcata, and Clary’s beloved younger brother, Owen was a student at Jacoby Creek Elementary School, where he was to have entered the fifth grade this fall.

For 10 years, Owen lived and loved with passionate intensity. The last words he was heard to speak were “this is so awesome!” Owen was full of curiosity, hungry for adventure, yet deeply rooted in his native northwestern California.

Owen touched many with his kindness, infectious joy, and love of laughter. His tragic death has sent waves of grief through the local community, his extended family and his parents’ far-flung networks of friends and colleagues.

A memorial for Owen will be held at the Bayside Grange on Friday, July 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. To offer support to Owen’s family in their grief, please see Lotsa Helping Hands at

Small, Feathered Consolations

Two baby barn swallows wobbling on the wire outside my window. It’s their first day out of the nest.

They’ve been flying around after the parent birds, a little unsteady, unfamiliar with their wings. Occasionally, almost by accident, catching something to eat.

Now they’re tired, want to be back in the nest.

When an older bird lands on the wire they beg for food. It flies off, leaves them there. Big mouths, pale fluff, scared and hungry.

In a few days they’ll be soaring over the garden. Hard to tell which are the older birds, which are the young.

It happens that fast.

In a few weeks they’ll all be gone. Some will be back next year, some won’t. Not all of us will be here to meet them.

Life seems designed to break us open. With beauty and fear, joy and grief, love, any one of its thousand ways. To send us out into nothing but faith and air.

Earth is a nest of broken shells. – Jerry Martien

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