From SCOTT CRATTY
This is devoted to the memory of the Westside Renaissance Market’s co-owner, and my wife, Holly Cratty, who passed away last Saturday evening, October 13.
I hope you had the opportunity to meet her and to know her at least a little. I know that those who did were blessed. In case you are one who did not, I wanted to share a small bit about this profoundly fine person.
Holly was a person of fierce integrity, wide knowledge, deep feeling and resolute moral courage and convictions. She believed, and acted on the belief, that we are obligated to do the right thing, not just talk about it (and never to take credit for it.) Her life was thus devoted to trying to help uplift others, to creating beauty and to doing what she could to help preserve the natural world – while also staying out of the spotlight.
She was a fully engaged person, in addition to helping run the Westside Renaissance Market and being vocationally and at heart an artist (although, if being a full time student was a vocation, she might have done that instead) she was also a philosopher, poet, scholar (in many fields), photographer, deeply contemplative person of spirit and faith, nature lover, animal champion, activist, humanitarian and relentless self-examiner.
She had a great thirst for both knowledge and understanding and was well versed in more subjects than anyone else I have known. She was keenly interested and informed about both things global and local. Holly added the “Renaissance” to the Westside Market and was a Renaissance woman.
Holly was also a gentle soul who vastly preferred home to a crowd and one-to-one conversation to a party. However, when in public behaving rightly toward others (i.e., following the Golden Rule) was always her first concern.
She was a devoted practitioner of kindness and humility. As one example, countless times (biting my tongue the whole while) I have watched her patiently praise, encourage and draw out someone who was lecturing her on a subject in which she was already deeply proficient. It was always more important to her to draw out and to help others shine than to show off what she knew.
She would never impose herself on others, but was always willing to be imposed on. When someone did care enough to ask and engage her, she enjoyed being drawn out and would gladly share her knowledge and understanding.
She was also a woman who carried an almost unbearable burden. She lived in this world but was also always aware of another, a parallel world in which kindness, respect and love were the norm. The gap between the two never ceased to weigh on her and she felt some measure of personal responsibility and sorrow for each human tragedy. She believed that we can and should be doing far more to care for ourselves and others and to be more respectful in our relationship with nature.
She was a romantic, idealist, transcendentalist, existentialist, nature loving, omni religious, old fashioned, music loving (especially Ravel, Debussy and Saint Saens), Kantian, conservative, liberal, no nonsense, loyal, love loving, truth seeking gal (and much more). She was also an extremely sweet person.
Should you be moved to do something in her memory, I would encourage you to undertake an act of kindness toward someone you would normally overlook or, perhaps better yet, toward someone you are not naturally inclined to be compassionate toward.
To the extent that the Westside Renaissance Market succeeds in having a positive effect in the community it is primarily due to her guidance and great spirit. Fortunately, she has also left behind a body of artistic works (poetry and paintings), which will hopefully find its way to a wider audience and will, in any case, continue to shed light and reflect a small part of her spirit.
To close I would like to brag about her a bit by letting her speak for herself and sharing a few small excerpts from her art and writing. I hope she will forgive me. I am inexpressibly far beyond grateful that she was here and was willing to share her life with me.
Locally you can see a number of Holly’s painting by visiting the Blue Sky Gallery in Willits. I will have copies of a book showing some older works from a 2003 exhibit at Blue Sky.
Following are a few excerpts from the statement that accompanied Holly’s Master of Fine Arts exhibition (1999). (I am planning to make some copies of this document available as it does, IMO, a remarkable job of conveying the purpose and value of abstract art.)
“All of my work, including the ‘Trees and Rhizomes’ series is about relationship. What I seek to express is my inner self, my feelings (emotional and physical) and my thoughts regarding my relationship to my subject. It is my understanding that each of us (and perhaps all life forms) exist in relationship to each other and it is the quality of these relationships that is of the greatest interest to me. All of my artworks are expressions of my experience or memory of my experience (be it lived or dreamed) of my relationship to a given subject or subjects. My work is celebratory: bound with love for my subjects in a sense of wonder. I love my subjects and in the painting process, I experience a state of the Universal Love and creative energy flow to ourselves and through ourselves to all and everything.”
And now, a small, almost random selection for her several collections of poetry: The first poem is the first from her first collection, Yard and Times, 1974-1986
The Almond Blossom
my little almond blossom
tumbling in quick cartwheels
how shy you seem!
cautious and dodging
all the beams of light
as if they would pierce you —
I feel a wringing helplessness
and I am not quick enough
to make guarantees
to secure a gentle landing for you
to point out a heaven
on this ancient carnival earth
But nothing could be too gentle for you
Too too gentle
And nothing could be too soft
And so I am afraid to stretch forth my hand
I hold my breath in respect
Bu then I take you
And finally from her collection An Open Window, June-July 1992, one that happened to strike me today.
A Persistent Duality
Strange, that hope and despair
can come to be
like so much beautiful wreckage
But there’s further to go
and the ego persists –
So raze what remains
of these one-prized ruins
Throw another match on the heap
of wine-soaked branches
the ego insists and resists —
It’s like being left
amidst the fading flowers of
a garden facing North
except the cold and dark
aren’t as troubling, anymore
and from here, your home is visible
from here, even the bricks
are vibrant, alive