Today in the car while we were driving home, with a view of the gorgeous snow-covered Enchantment Peaks in front of us, Olaf said "Mommy, God lives in the mountains."
What led him to that particular thought at that moment, I don't know, but I think he was right.
This last weekend a friend of mine from high school was lost in those very mountains we were looking at, in an avalanche while back-country skiing. Scary. And very, very sad. He was only 28. You can read a brief bit about it here. One of our good friends was with him on the ski tour, along with a few others.
He wasn't one of my best friends, but I sure enjoyed the times we hung out. This is going to sound totally cliche, but Dan was one of those guys who really did get along with everyone -- both in high school (where kids can be SO judgemental) and beyond. I wouldn't even say that about myself. Though he had a close group of friends that were climbers, hikers, skiers, and snowmobilers, he pretty much had friends everywhere else too. Evidence that Dan really was friends with all -- I have a picture of him at my friend Mariya's 18th birthday party surrounded by a bunch of our friends (including me) who were, well, total dorks. We had 3 salutatorians, 3 band members, 3 choir members, tons of drama-nerds... oh yeah. We didn't really care, but no we were not the most popular kids in school. But apparently we were still fun, because though none of Dan's close friends were in that group, he would still hang out and have fun with us.
Fast forward 12 years. I managed to run into Dan a few times a year when Steve and I moved back to the area. Probably more before we had kids, and less after (when we stopped attending every party and bonfire). We seemed to run in the same circles. He always had a ton of questions about how I was doing, and always had some sort of story to share of an adventure he had recently taken. Who would have thought that the last time I would see him would be in the local liquor store, chatting as we stood in line to make our purchases. Certainly not me.
I just can't stop thinking about what happened.
Can't stop imagining what it must have been like for him in his final moments.
Can't imagine what it was like for his friends who were with him.
And can't imagine what it is now like for his family and closest friends, as a whole community mourns his loss...
So I have just been praying prayers of peace to wash over everyone.
Prayers of peace.
If you have a moment please do the same for his family and close friends.
Life is so very fleeting.
Dan, you were loved and respected.
Gone, but certainly not forgotten.
"Going to the mountains is going home." --John Muir