Dearest Desmond Boswell, "Hermit of Hudson" dies

Desmond Boswell Last Week Desmond Boswell, the famous "Hermit of Husdon," Died. For the hundreds of people who knew him closely, this is a great loss. He was an extremely special and rare person who had compassion for all living things refused to participate in modern society as he saw it too destructive to the environment. Any who took the time to talk to him, were immediately touched by his incredible love, kindness, and gentleness. But those who did not take the time often feared him and saw him as a "no good hippy drug addict." The obituary in the local Hudson Gazette, although they kindly printed some truths, sadly fell into this trap, leaving the impression that Desmond was the way he was because of drugs and not because of intelligence, consciousness and compassion. i wrote a letter to the Gazette, but they did not publish it, so I publish it here and on facebook in the hopes that others will see and know. In Memory of a Special Teacher, Desmond Boswell. I write to correct a few mistakes in your obituary on Desmond Boswell. Contrary to your claim, Desmond almost never touched drugs or drank alcohol. You can ask that of anyone who spent time with him and did not simply judge him from afar. Many people also accused him of dealing drugs, but if that were the case he would not have been living on handouts. He was simply tolerant of other people's vices, so he put up with the many people around him who did. . His only vice was Tobacco, which killed him as he knew it would. In reality he was an extremely decent humanbeing--Buddha or Christlike if you will--who would give a stranger his last piece of toast and starve himself. And he gave away lots: cars, cups of tea, time and especially wisdom. How many people do you know who would talk to a mosquito to convince it not to bite them? Or hold a raccoon hit by a car for 6 hours and talk to it to comfort it while it was dying? While many find such examples laughable, the compassion behind it was anything but. His love and genuine concern for others meant that many people who could not cope with the modern world were attracted to him and sought his sympathy. And he opened the eyes to the realities of society to many, many others who could, making them into better people, less judgmental of other humans, yet more critical thinking citizens. Although a recluse, he also participated in many town hall meetings--often in nothing but a loin cloth and accompanied by many dogs and a rabbit-- and felt a real responsibility towards society. He made you feel like he saw only the good part of you. Just talking to him always made me feel up--evaporated my worries as he seemed so happy with so little. I recall finding him once after the town tore down his house, living in a lean-to made out of a fence and a plastic tarpaulin. It was just big enough to lie down in and have an extra seat to sit and cook in. It was -20 out and only a kerosene stove heated the place. He was naked and perfectly happy. Offered me a cup of tea. Its how the CBC found him when it did its story about him: totally at peace in circumstances that many would find dire. One felt around him, "okay, if I screw up and fail it doesn't matter so much." Stay true to yourself; be kind to others, take only what you need, respect the earth and you will be at peace. He was an extremely rare person who decided to opt out of society as much as he could in this era in which such an option is almost impossible. So many of us complain about capitalism's devastation of the environment, but only Des actually walked out of it and refused to participate. He was conscious of this decision: he had read Thoreau and referred to Ghandi often. Of course he was not perfect. He would be the first to admit it, for he was extremely honest with himself. Nonetheless, he fulfilled a role so rare in the modern world, that of "hermit" sage. I know some take offence to this label. But I mean it well, as I did in the original article using the title(Montreal Gazette June 5th, 1994, Section C). In medieval times that was actually a respected role in (or on the edge of ) society; someone who made people reflect on life. We strangely have supposedly become more liberal and tolerant and yet so many people badgered Desmond and accused him of all sorts of things simply because he did not follow the way of the majority. Like Socrates, his very existence brought into question people's value systems and brought down their property values. And this inspired the many misunderstandings about him, like that he was a drug addict. Only a legal drug addict: tobacco. We will miss him dearly. Yet he lives on in the heart of so many people. Kevin Ryan started a facebook blog on him and dozens of people have poured in their stories. It is really beautiful. One feels he is here still, teaching. Sincerely Keith Adams Creative Director Multifolkal Ex-Hudsonite, Friend of Des.

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