Dear family and friends,
We write today with heavy hearts to announce the passing of Strelsa Michele Muldavin on Sunday, March 7th, 2021, on El Carrizito Ranch in Ribera, New Mexico. Strelsa was born in Santa Fe on November 18th, 1955, and lived a full, adventurous, and rich life. Artist, weaver, quilter, poet, letter-writer, musician, mime, dancer, animal and bird lover, friend to many around the world, Strelsa was happiest at home on the ranch.
Strelsa’s warmth and care for others was often expressed through her thousands of hand-written letters—an amazing correspondence she maintained with those she met over the course of her life. Her letters often came with her art on the envelopes and inside, as she shared in her poetic voice her life path, joys and sorrows, and empathetic love and deep care.
She created hand-made gifts that would arrive to friends and family facing their own travails, always seeking to soothe and brighten others’ lives.
Strelsa has been struggling with serious health challenges. In early February she was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe. During her week there they diagnosed congestive heart failure. She stabilized and was able to come home to the ranch about three weeks ago. Over the past months and these last weeks, she continuously expressed her thanks and love to all the people in her life and her caretakers, knowing the tightrope she was walking each day. And yet she left us with hope and optimism, and her endless capacity for finding beauty and wonder in each moment. We found her yesterday where she had been sitting at her desk composing, and here are the words from the final letter she was writing right before she passed:
“March winds blowin’ every which way and better be sheltered in a sunny spot not to feel the cold ice blowin’ your way! Birds all puff up all huddle in the rose branches…being quiet…taking a break from feeding…or the hawk….. I don’t care for the hawk either….Yes, I know it’s all part of nature, but out in the meadow, in the courtyard it's easy pickings, and I don’t like hearing the poor bird cry out It's heart breakin’ It’s not an easy sound to hear… Pinyon Jays are early this morning. They fly in eat everything drink up what’s left then within time leave. Them coming to the feeders this year means they can’t find enough pinyon in the trees. So they depend on all the feeders they can find. I don’t mind them. I have a pretty good idea when they come and I can hear them in the distance as well. So I put food out often. I want to figure out how to put oranges out and apples too. And I’m thinking of buying some worms as this will give all birds extra protein…. for spring and for birds that migrate through here…every year is a different story. Who arrives who doesn’t. I never thought about writing it down only mark the back of my book. But I remember many birds I’ve seen. Like one early morning on my way to work… it was early spring there was a light frost everywhere as I came towards the arroyo there they all were in the grasses eating something? Sandpipers. I stop the engine slowly got out before I knew what was happening they all picked up at once making that sound that you hear walkin’ on the beach! twee, twee, twee flying over me back and forth it was wonderful! They were migrating through. The last two springs I’ve had seagulls fly over here”
We invite those who would like to do so, to share stories, memories, photos, excerpts of letters, feelings and inspirations of their time with Strelsa, here on this site. Going forward we will also be adding our own. While we have not yet set a date for a memorial, we will do so soon for a time here on the ranch in the coming summer. We ask that if you wish to make a contribution in her memory, that you do so to the American Bird Conservancy (https://abcbirds.org/
We send our love and thanks to all, and we hope to hear from you and learn of your own special relationship with our loving sister, auntie, and wonderful friend! Peace.