<>January 17th, 2022: Monday morning: The snow is falling gently,
and my angel is
gone. Wendy Hall, co-founder of Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in
passed away last night in Home Hospice, at the age of seventy, of an
sarcoma, with me at her bedside. A perennial volunteer, Wendy was a
known for her dedication to helping people and wildlife. At various
volunteer ambulance lieutenant, massage therapist, pastel and
artist, Wendy was best known as a wildlife rehabilitator, who not only
train aspiring rehabilitators, but also taught many folks about
their roles in nature.
> <>Wendy racked up thousands of travel miles, rescuing, rehabbing and releasing every critter from songbirds to birds of prey, to mammals such as beaver, fishers, fox, coyotes and bears, back to the wild, while taking those critters who could no longer make a living in nature to schools, colleges, retirement homes, etc., to allow observers to see these animals up close, and appreciate how they survive in nature, and how those roles often complement what people are trying to accomplish.
When she wasn’t traveling, Wendy was “on call,” always available, day or night, to pick up a wounded animal or to help out a colleague. She was an inspiration for countless schoolchildren (and their parents) through her educational sessions. Wendy brought people together – environmental activists and writers, artists and neighbors – and fostered collaboration and community. A tireless advocate, she made sure her state legislators were educated on critical environmental issues. Her expertise and passion for her work were evident in everything she did.
> <>Wendy is survived by me, her husband Steve, a writer and educator known in the Adirondacks for my educational work with wolves and bears, as well as four grown kids,
Wendy was born in the Yankee Stadium area of the Bronx, and lived variously in Riverdale, Dobbs Ferry and finally Hastings-on-Hudson, where she met Steve, a fellow nature lover, with whom she raised her family for 23 years in the Carmel, NY area known as Kent Lakes. After 911, Wendy and Steve, with the kids grown and gone in pursuit of their careers, moved to Wilmington in the Adirondacks, and on those 50 acres near Whiteface Mountain, started Adirondack Holiday, a vacation rental business, as well as the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, which averaged 50,000 visitors a year, eager to learn about wildlife and nature. Wendy will be missed by all who knew her, but her legacy will live on. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society in Wendy’s name, to help them beat this disease that has cut short so many lives, or the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge to help continue the work Wendy started. Steve Hall
A Lifetime of Yesterdays, Wendy's thoughts as dictated to Diane Buckley, & edited by Wendy's brother, Gary Berke
<>Nov 14, 2021><>________>
<>I had many successful releases. Animals that could no longer survive in the wild were used as educational animals. We had ambassador animals like the wolves, who were born in captivity. Eventually we got two bears, ambassador animals, also born in captivity.
Eventually my mistakes caught up with me, and while I worked hard to try and make amends, it appeared to be too late. My licenses and permits were revoked and I wanted to appeal but the lawyer advised against it. The back and forth between me and one government agency went on for years and caused a lot of stress which made me quite ill and finally resulted in a case of terminal cancer.
After the animals were rehomed and one bear died in the process, I resigned myself to dear friends and hospice care. When entering Hospice care, you make the decision that you don't want any more treatment and resign yourself to being as comfortable as possible. The goal was to manage the pain without sacrificing mental acuity.
Soon after, I received a message from a very fine falconer who asked if I was interested in a non-regulated falcon who had suffered west nile virus and survived with residual blindness. She is a rescue animal with the loveliest disposition as an educational bird. We hang out every day, bringing me hope and inspiration which is not part of my current world now.
My old life is gone.
I was dismal
and prepared for death until the falcon came along.
<>I have stopped taking morphine or any other hospice drug so I can be more alert and enjoy the falcon, who Steve named Wendy. > <>When I'm gone the falcon will be used for education with good handlers. Although I am sedentary, I am able to enjoy her and do pastels of her.
> <>Resignation turned to inspiration because of a falcon.> <>
Dec 14, 2021>
is alot of life in death"
said while we were walking the house. We
stopped at the back door for a breath of air. "I love it here," she
said. I'm seeing that Wendy does not know what to do anymore. Nothing
comfortable. She cannot eat. Taking turns with different meds. But so
between. She tries to go without. It seems she wants to experience
while she is waiting to die. I just sit quietly by her side to be there
she needs something.
Wendy’s Lifetime of Last Days<>
Central thought: The chest muscles of the bird control the actions of the bird. All comes from the core. As the dying creature weakens, all strength goes to preserve the inner core at the expense of the extremities. The same process occurs in the dying human.
<>I was gradually releasing myself from life; my incentive for living died when they took my animals away, and then a falconer friend of mine gave me this blind falcon. It was so hard to tell it was blind, we had to constantly remind ourselves. Suddenly my incentive for living was revived and I got the idea of writing a book.
> <>The separation of each organ of the body from the soul really happens. One day it is there, and the next, it is missing. It takes a while to accept.
<>The diminishing of function is not a constant trend. Occasionally, function returns, but it doesn’t last. Once I stopped being able to walk on my own, my legs occasionally responded. My brother was taking care of me at the time, and his reaction to this was absurd. Why didn’t I call him to help me… after I was already back in bed.
<>As we attempt to piece together a vision of life as we leave it, we find ourselves unable to control the aspects of the vision. Our attempt at a complete puzzle diffuses repeatedly. It took a week after my brother’s arrival to concentrate enough to work on this text.
> <>All living things are a part of the earth. Shiatsu divides the earth’s elements into water, earth and metal, fire and wood. These find corresponding homes in the body. The forces of corrosion, like the worst storms, eat at the body and suck away its vitality, much like the forces of erosion reduce solid limestone to a honeycomb.
> <>After a life of producing color in its richest forms, oh shit! What emerges from me now is an ashen gray.
One thing I would like to leave behind is the concept of true rehab in the proper environment. Animals should not be shuffled from place to place; there should be environments that can be adapted for them. An example of establishing rehab environments is Athena’s cage.
We were very concerned because he knew that accipiters were likely to stress out and die in captivity, especially goshawks, and this bird had been close to death on more than one occasion. Knowing that goshawks are deep forest birds with an aggressive attitude toward encroachment, we decided that Athena’s cage should be as close to a deep forest habitat as we could make it, allowing for the limitations of the bird. A bird for whom attempting flight is dangerous cannot be kept in an enclosure big enough to encourage flight, so had to be limited in size, but big enough to satisfy her limited flight capabilities. To allow the nervous bird an environment most like that which she left, the deep forest, we let the space in the enclosure return to its natural state.
<>This turned out to be very good for Athena, who thrived, to everyone’s surprise. She even became used to people outside the bars of her enclosure and only died after being moved from the property. We’d had her for nineteen years. Nothing is a more important endorsement of a strategy than the thriving of the bird long term. If she hadn’t been moved, she might still be alive.
Steve's Eulogy for Wendy
Sitting by the river on a perfectly sunny morning,
Not a cloud in the sky, robins foraging in the grass,
The shrubs, birch and oak trees finally budding.
Whiteface Mountain looms in the distance,
its higher ski runs still bright with snow.
Background concert of crickets and katydids,
Songbirds, peepers and wood frogs.
Mergansers dipping their heads underwater,
grabbing minnows holding position in the current,
An old beaver friend slaps his tail on the surface,
Where the trout rise to catch mayflies.
My local male eagle flies downstream,
looking for intruders, prey or fishing ospreys,
Angrily lectured and pursued by crows,
while the eagle’s mate waits patiently on the nest.<>Wendy loved to sit by the river and take this all in,
But my angel died here in hospice in January,
In the middle of the night, her hand in mine,
as the snowflakes drifted down, silencing nature,
an unforgiving but strangely beautiful stage,
for my last moments with the love of my life.
My loneliness is intense, all encompassing,
coloring everything I see and experience,
no one to share the beauty of our solitude with,
remembering the raven, “never more,”
endlessly staring at photos of my Wendy,
so grateful for our time together, but
driving me from my memory flooded home,
visiting friends, sons, daughters and grand kids,
or embarking on my special meditation,<>looking for bears, moose and wolves.
Whatever time I have left in this mortal shell,
I will always be grateful for the family Wendy gave us,
Her enthusism for teaching visitors about nature,
and the friends who help guide me through my grief,
and help me cope with the sadness which now envelops me.
Sleep well my angel and save a place in your heart for me!