When community health worker Sean McCann asked one of the people under our care, stonemason Rolf Durang, if he had adequate support in his rural community, Rolf informed us that he had “an army of angels” who helped him with food, transport, housing, etc. A short time later, a pain crisis brought Rolf to the hospital. From there he went to a skilled nursing facility, but he wanted to get back to the land where he had lived for the last three decades, and especially, back to his river, before the Spring salmon run. A battery of institutions, including Seaview Rehab and Wellness Center, Hospice of Humboldt, St. Joseph home health, and ResolutionCare, returned Rolf to the care of his army of angels.
Because Rolf lives in an area that is an admixture of Native Americans and back-to-the-landers of European descent, his angel army is also an amalgamation. When tribal elders Donna and Clyde refurbished a trailer on their land allotment, Rolf left the skilled nursing facility and moved into it, looking forward to going fishing with Clyde. From a spiritual/whole person perspective, the prescription of sun, friends, home-cooked food (smoked eel!), hills, trees, rivers and blessed quiet is the therapeutic intervention Rolf needs to be healthy and whole. He has visited many friends, attended the annual Orleans Father’s Day parade, seen some of his stonemasonry projects, and talks often with family in Germany on What’s App through Donna’s home wifi, which also enables Zoom video-conferencing with his nurse, Kathy Mize, or physician Ron Sand.
My recent visit found Rolf sitting on the veranda of his aluminum cottage in Hoopa, sorting through and designating who will inherit various of his treasures. At his elbow were the freshly oiled cowboy boots he wants to wear into the next world. And yes, he has been part of the Spring fishing.