I regret that I was unable to make it to the memorials for Loren. Fortunately for me, this web site that Nick has maintained has given me a chance to kind of hang out with Loren one more time. Thanks Nick. Loren’s death has made me feel a sense of loss disproportionate to the small amount of time, mostly years ago, that I spent with him. It just isn’t going to be the same with him gone. His life was a creative, colorful, tapestry that entertained, taught, and inspired. Our community will dearly miss this culture shaping artist friend. Lucky for us, there is a little of Loren honed into everyone that knew him that will be moving us forward in the good ways that he modeled. Still, I am missing him very much.
The first time I remember meeting Loren was at a dance in St. Paul with Lucinda Anderson in the late 70s. Right away it was clear how much of his intelligence was physical – he was a good dancer, and serious about it! As I got to know him over the stages of his life – his camping in a tent while rehearsing for the Circle of Water Circus, his living in a cave (giving the idea of the Man Cave a whole new meaning), his fanciful home in St. Paul overflowing with various animal skins – and in the parallel universe which is May Day, as a the King of the Sun, as a mud man, a heron – I marveled at the way he played with the physical world and made it his own.
Over the years, Loren’s and my friendship grew around the many projects he did for me in three houses. The most creative was a barter we did, where I traded him work on a house I owned in Bisbee, Arizona, for time at a cabin in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona for him and his then sweetie/and for many years close friend, Yiscah Bracha. His fingerprints are literally all over my houses in joint compound and tub grout, and I will treasure knowing that they are there.
What I most loved about Loren was his capacity for improvisation of all kinds, the sheer joy of it. Whether it was working on a May Day puppet or redoing a kitchen, Loren had no limits for the ways he could look at a problem. I loved the process of creative exploration, of figuring out what to do. I felt that suddenly I was more creative because I could see the possibilities he showed me.
Loren’s spirit is impossible to contain in a single life. I am sorry not to be at the celebration, because I think I would get a chance to see the scope of Loren’s life as he truly lived it, reflected in the eyes of all of his friends. Loren, you live on in my heart.
I was a neighbor of Loren, but unfortunately I never got to know him very well. Now that I have learned of his death and have read about his accomplishments, I feel bad that I didn’t get to know him better. I would always wave to him when I drove by his house. I remember with great fondness seeing him riding down the street on his bicycle with the pink flamingo puppet. He seemed to be a very gentle soul and a great and interesting inhabitant of the neighborhood.
Last Spring, I sat with my friend Betty on her patio overlooking the Mississippi. We were relishing the sun, the blue water, and the greenery on the bluffs as folks in these Northern climes are wont to do at that time of year. A frantic commotion erupting from the river interrupted our conversation. It was a stampede of ducklings running across the surface as fast as they could. There must have been fifty of them, all born in the Spring, running as fast as they could behind their mothers. They had to run. They were too young to fly. They settled. The water calmed. Betty and I resumed our conversation only to be interrupted again a few moments later by another frenzy from the river. This time Betty and I watched as an eagle quietly swooped down and extracted one of the ducklings from amongst her peers. Without effort, but pestered by a crow, the eagle soared and landed on a tree limb in Betty’s back yard. We watched as the eagle had her lunch while the ducklings settled and the water calmed.
Our good friend Loren died late yesterday afternoon. A heart attack took him suddenly as he drove his van across the Mississippi on the Lake Street bridge. We learned of this at the dance last evening. Our favorite band, The Light of the Moon, played us into a frenzy. At the end, we waltzed for Loren.
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