Reminders of those we’ve lost were omnipresent for me this weekend. Beyond the one obvious to everyone – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – I was reminded of two others – snowboarding pioneer Craig Kelly and my dad.
When I decided to escape to Oregon for the weekend, a show by snowboard industry photographer Bud Fawcett was primary in my decision. Because the mountains were being inundated with rain, slush and mud, limiting my usual options for fun, it seemed like an opportune time to head south to check out the must-see show. When I arrived at the White Rabbit Bakery to check out the show, images of the icons of snowboarding – Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer, Rob Morrow – were everywhere. I felt especially compelled to have the Craig Kelly print. I never knew Craig, but he is representative of snowboarding for me – flying down steep slopes at Baker, not caring about anything else when I’m slipping over the snow. Even though he died doing what he loved, that doesn’t lessen the loss.
The next two days were spent bumming around Salem in the wet, wild, winter rainstorm. On Sunday night, I decided that I would “stop by to see Dad” at the Willamette National Cemetery on my way home. The cemetery was graced by ribbons of sunlight sneaking through otherwise-grey skies, and flowers and holiday decorations dotted the greens and the columbariums. A sad start to the afternoon was brightened by these visuals.
Then three more hours were spent zipping up I-5 to Seattle, glimpsing gorgeous rainbows that seemed to span the freeway every 40 miles or so along the way, with the soundtrack of NPR in the background, broadcasting memories from those whose lives had been touched by Dr. King.
Everything about the weekend reminded me how important it is to value people and their passions now, because you never know when they’ll disappear.