Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Oregon.
I held off completing this image for quite some time, knowing it was for a friend of mine, but somehow afraid that if I finished it, I would somehow hasten the inevitable. I should have known better than to question fate's time table, with my crude prayers for mercy, or my selfish hope for things to slow down and give us all more time. Soon enough, the reality of full daylight would sober me on that day, but for now, cirrus streaked above the volcanic mass of Mount Jefferson, bathed in sunrise pink, and glorious in passing. My dear friend, John Naioti, is gone. We met as he took a seat in class one day, and, in passing, said ‘I hear you play guitar’. It started a long road together, often diverging with life's interruptions, but always reuniting with the commonality of brothers on a journey neither of us saw coming, turned now into one bourbon tinged story after another. We never really grew up, age was just a number to us, nothing was sacred, everything was brought down to the most juvenile level, for the laugh. We still said the same time worn phrases to each other. We were still awed by the same mysteries, still driven by the same visions of ourselves. How do you say goodbye to a friend of 50 years? Over the last one, I guess I said it many times, without saying it. I watched the course of his trial, watched him be diminished physically, his big body made small—but never, ever, his presence. He taught me strength. I wonder if we take our memories with us. If we do, it must be honed down to a single thought, one that encompasses all of the love we’ve found in our lives, a quantum entity that never burns out. Maybe fate has a timetable to bring those sparks together again. I sit drinking coffee as dawn breaks, and I imagine his spirit, leaving these earthly bonds, lifting and racing high above me, free like the children we were, bursting in color to let me know, in passing.