Petra Mudie

There are not enough words to pay full tribute to my friend, colleague and dharma sister, Ruth. It seemed that Ruth was everything to everyone. Pick any topic and Ruth would listen with delight. Then she would add some knowledge that enriched the subject - or sometimes, she turned it upside-down with information from long-gone archives that few had ever read. She had a college degree in Spanish, and a BA in English and Philosophy: how did in the world did that add up to an honorary Doctorate of Laws, and being author/co-author of 18 books, many on Mi'kmaq stories and history? It simply did not add up - but Ruth evoked magic and left us a rich legacy that will last well into the future. She also showed a superhuman strength in the last leg of her literary journey. Despite crippling illnesses that would have ended the writing aspirations of most authors, Ruth took on two other projects in her last years. In her last book on Nova Scotia and the Great Influenza Pandemic 1918 - 1920, Ruth teamed with a historian and a medical doctor to turn hundreds of dusty medical records into living legends of people and communities. She used conversations with surviving relatives to turn the dry medical facts into heartfelt living memories. She wrote (on page xvi) "...I was continually amazed at the energy this investigation generated." While this comment referred to the people she interviewed, I think it also reflected her own spirit that brought the book to fruition from a sickbed that she seldom could leave. Her other last work links together Mi'kmaq stories and the Geology of Nova Scotia. This is an unfinished chapter - but holds the promise of being another work of magic that draws together the most unlikely of people, and enriches oral legends, histories and science alike. Ruth, your magic will live on for generations to come. In the meanwhile, enjoy your well-earned rest from physical suffering - and as I have promised, we will make our planned journeys to Greenland and Tibet the next time around.