21. The father of my
best friend soul sister carried and hung these peace flags as he and his best friend climbed Denali. A lifelong dream of his was to stand on that particular summit and overlook the Alaskan landscape. I’m not sure why they waited to do it until the eve of his 61st birthday, maybe it was fitness, maybe conditions, maybe money, maybe just time. In the interim he had run marathons in all 50 states, he’d climbed Kilimanjaro, descended, and run a marathon around the base. He taught spin classes and ran with a local group – building community and his quad muscles all at once.
He was the first to teach me, his daughter and the third of our trio to rock climb. He infused into our 15-year-old spirits the magic qualities of confidence, fitness, adventure, and a whole lot of laughter.
There is a photo that his best friend took of him as they stopped about half way to the 20,310 Denali summit. Bill is beaming. He’s shining as if his whole being were made of gentle snow – sparkling and dancing – boundlessly. According to his friend, he looked out over the dramatic landscape and said something akin to “have you ever seen anything more beautiful?”. A few minutes later he said that he didn’t feel well. And a few minutes after that he died.
These prayer flags were strung overhead of his son and son’s fiance as they took their vows. His presence wrapped around and through these beautiful young artists as they wedded each other. Their public union and those who witnessed it was overflowing with beauty, sacredness, family, and heritage. The light wind rippled through these prayer flags. And Bill was there.
He is a man who loved this earth deeply, pursued a full life, inspired many of us to seek the fullness of each day, and is so deeply missed.