Perry Treadwell was an extraordinary man who I met in the late 1970s as part of a men’s consciousness-raising group he had founded. Perry was a member of the local Quaker congregation whose weekly silent meditations I attend. He died his home in Decatur on June 25th.
Perry was one of several local Quakers who I considered a local hero for the social change projects he devoted his life to. In recent years, Perry’s wife Judith Greenburg had volunteered many hours at the Meetinghouse library, whose operation I have coordinated for several decades.
At Perry’s memorial service last month, those of us who had gathered at the Meetinghouse to share our memories of Perry heard two poems that Perry had written.
Here’s an excerpt of one of them:
Friendship takes energy,
And the courage to reach out.
If your life is too busy to reach out,
Remember that, in the end,
The only things to hold onto
And will hold onto you
Here’s the entirety of the second poem of Perry’s that we heard:
Center down to the depths of unthinking.
Find your inner calm.
See how the world moves
in its rhythms.
Feel the rhythm of the universe
To which all things belong
And to which they return.
If you don’t feel the rhythm
You remain confused in darkness.
Coming from and returning to the light,
You accept, trust.
Distance brings closeness.
Calm brings laughter.
Open your heart.
Be a Friend.
Being a Friend to your Self,
You can float through the
Ups and downs of life,
And prepare for death.
I will miss this thoughtful, sometimes cantankerous, and always generous man.