His real name was Steven Kimball. But here at Daily Kos and on his own blog, Climaticide Chronicles, he was known as JohnnyRook. After a two-and-a-half-year fight against acute myeloid leukemia, he died Monday [March 2, 2009] at his home in Port Townsend, Washington. He was 53.
...excerpt from R.I.P. JohnnyRook by Meteor Blades
JohnnyRook's Port Townsend is a lovely town cornered on the eastern straits of Juan de Fuca, on Admiralty Inlet, and in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains on the Olympic Peninsula.
You cannot imagine a lovelier place. It's a corner of earth to yearn for. Ghosts of many races and genesis from over a century ago walk with thoroughly modern mortals along Victorian streets little changed but for gift stores and ice cream shoppes (probably suffering in this economy).
So many Indian tribes once crossed the sandy tide-washed lowlands around Port Townsend seeking salmon and the trade of other Sound dwellers - Chemakum , Quilleute (Hoh), the Klallams, Quinault and the Quilcene, and the Suquamish to the south.
Salty mudflats were filled in and paved with cobblestone in the 19th century anticipating the railroad's arrival and Seattle-size boom town success. But the rails fell short. Another century, another Depression.
The Indians were constrained to reservation land in the west and south and east, and a military installation platted an officers row (Fort Worden) on prime fir-covered land around the point.
Boom receded and left the most fantastic Victorians still perched on the hill above downtown. A marvelous covey beach nests around the point where a standard coastal lighthouse fields chill winds from the Frasier valley to the north and warmer marine winds from the Pacific.
Straining eyes see Canada.
There's magic in the summertime dusk in Port Townsend, the receding day saturated in a dusty blueish-purple-coral. At this time of day-night, the spirits return, all spirits return.
A fine place from which an ecologically-minded soul can fight to save the earth, settle and finally, rest.
Like many, I drop in and out of Dailykos, some days spending hours; some weeks are missed entirely due to life, work, health, family, dogs, the usual crisis-centric buzz that drowns out everything.
I never took the opportunity, or delved deeply enough into the series of Johnny's posts here or on his own blog, to realize that he lived just across the Sound.
I had an image of him lately when I read his diaries and A Siegel's fine piece. A kind of a protective inner insistent visual chant, a vision of him cocooned in a nest far above the ground in the colony of his family.
I've lost a good neighbor, a thing more precious than gold.
Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago...
William Butler Yeats
Sympathy to his family, his friends, his blog community.
Peace to you, Steven.