One of the first conversations I ever had with Nestor revolved around the Kalevala…

Nestor Perala

Nestor Perala past away this Wednesday, after sustaining a fall that broke his shoulder on Tuesday at the assisted living facility that he was residing at.
Nestor was a beloved member of our community, and in fact many communities. He had friends everywhere, and from what I could tell, he knew everyone in Portland.
He was proceeded in death by his son Kendrick last year, and by his wife Myra the year before.
He is survived by his daughter Julia, her husband Seymour and their two wonderful daughters Naomi, and Mira.
His daughter Christi was with him as he past, which was lucky, as she was up visiting from her home on the California/Oregon border that she shares with her husband John.
The last couple of years had taken a toll on him, and he went into the light (and from the story I heard it was blazing before him) with peace and joy.
I can still see him walking up the street with the cigar clamped in his hand…
Nestor’s’ parents were from Finland, and he loved his cultural roots. He was a cultural treasure of the highest degree. You would always find him at the local Scandinavian Events.
He was also a thoroughly modern person who saw the need for activism to keep government in check. He was an avid writer, and I was never surprised to see a letter to the editor from him in the Oregonian. He had recently been in the news as the US Army was trying to get him to re-enlist…. 80) Soldiers of Fortune: The U.S. Army still wants 84-year-old Nestor Perala
He had an abiding interest in entheogens, as he told me that they had literally “saved his life”. He was friends with Myron Stolaroff, and many others in the local community. His tolerance of others, his deep spiritual nature, and his constant curiosity and wonder made him a delight to be around.
Nestor, I will miss you, and your presence at our gatherings and the neighborhood will be sorely felt. Godspeed, and may that brilliant sun that you saw that last night hold you in its embrace.
Be Free.

____________

Two Poems For Nestor
When I die…
When I die

when my coffin

is being taken out

you must never think

i am missing this world
don’t shed any tears

don’t lament or

feel sorry

i’m not falling

into a monster’s abyss
when you see

my corpse is being carried

don’t cry for my leaving

i’m not leaving

i’m arriving at eternal love
when you leave me

in the grave

don’t say goodbye

remember a grave is

only a curtain

for the paradise behind
you’ll only see me

descending into a grave

now watch me rise

how can there be an end

when the sun sets or

the moon goes down
it looks like the end

it seems like a sunset

but in reality it is a dawn

when the grave locks you up

that is when your soul is freed
have you ever seen

a seed fallen to earth

not rise with a new life

why should you doubt the rise

of a seed named human
have you ever seen

a bucket lowered into a well

coming back empty

why lament for a soul

when it can come back

like Joseph from the well
when for the last time

you close your mouth

your words and soul

will belong to the world of

no place no time
~RUMI, ghazal number 911,

translated May 18, 1992,

by Nader Khalili.

When I Am Dead, My Dearest
When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.
~Christina Rossetti