January 30, 2020.
Dave would have been 63 today. The younger of my two older brothers, Dave was four years older than I.
Though Dave would die soon after the photo at Amherst was taken, his spirit and soul would not. I stare at these images: the same big spirit, same big smile, same big personality, same hand-knit sweater our mother knit, same flannel L.L. Bean shirt. Maybe a bit less hair due to his bout with chemotherapy. Some moments and events of those last six months are crystal clear for me; some are blurred, like a thick, gray, foggy mist. I had settled in to my first semester at UNH by that December of 1979, the days of Ingemar Stenmark and the Mahre brothers.
Why I've chosen to write a few words about these images, I'm not sure. Maybe it's because the omniscient Universe knew I'd be needing some inspiration and support in the ensuing weeks, so when I looked at these shots on January 30th, framed and alive on my desk, they drew me in.
That's how Dave was-- always so alive and spirited, and nothing could get him down. Driven and passionate, with a special way of finding, feeling and spreading fun and joy-- with a joie de vivre that somehow went below the surface and affected those fortunate enough to be in his presence. Were I eloquent enough to even attempt to capture his legacy, I would do so. For today, however, I will be lifted and inspired by the lessons of his brilliant spirit, boundless light, and radiant soul.
Dave read a lot of Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and so much more that, unfortunately, I don't even know. I share one of his favorite poems with you:
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sounds the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.