Monday, April 6, 2009

The Virtual Birthday, in Pictures

Brooke's virtual birthday party was wonderful, with floods of cards, e-mails, wonderful little notes on scraps of paper, everything. (As before, we're still opening them!) Here's a particularly elegant one, a log of a third of a century of adventuring with Gale Dick:

To Brooke on his birthday 2009

Dear Brooke,

You have been the best of friends, an indomitable traveling companion and stimulating colleague through the years. You are even dearer now as you work your way back to health and mobility. Scores of people rejoice at every step forward, not the least of them me.

I’m thankful for the many hours and miles we have enjoyed together.

Where all have we been together? First of all there have been the ski tours and hikes in the Wasatch, including those special tours from Little Water Peak over the ridge to the top of that wonderful powder run down what Roger and Jane call Nord’s Hill. Maybird, Gobbler’s Knob, Red Pine, White Pine. Then the treks to the Wind Rivers including one to the beautiful and remote Cook Lakes from which we climbed a pass to the northwest and wandered back to Elkhart Park. The one where we climbed Fremont and your sister Lisa injured herself. And then the dramatic and stormy stay at the high camp above the New Fork Lakes where you and I and Ann hunkered in one tent and, earlier on, we had a long vexing struggle with a plugged up camp stove.

We went with Bill and Kip and Bob Plummer up in the North Cascades on an attempt to climb Glacier Peak. We never even saw it and endured hours and hours of rain. On the way out we drank champagne that Bob had cached at a hot spring and limped into the parking lot sodden and footsore. We saw Viet Nam before it started to boom and were baffled by the quickness with which the fell American presence there had seemingly been forgotten. We went to Yunnan, via Guilin, visited that “Shangri-la” town near the Tibet border, heard Tang dynasty music and met a Nature Conservancy guy in Kunming who inquired about the activity of Louise Liston, Garfield County commissioner. Great trip to Kashgar on that highway along the southern edge of the Takla Makan desert – the Magao Caves. We stayed in that wonderful converted farmhouse near Pitiglano in Tuscany. Jon, Lise and and I played music and we ate and drank well with Jon and Cristina Lindsay, Lise Brunhart, David Wertz. It’s a good part of the world.

We need to add to these geographical adventures our strenuous intellectual voyage through super ITW – nearly two years of reading, thinking, learning and interacting with one another and with students. It was fun. It was laborious. I loved it.

We skied the Selkirks from a hut we reached by helicopter along with Chauncy and Emily, Kip Wallace and Howie Garber. Sang to a guitar, ate well, wore ourselves out climbing and skiing.

And then there was Venezuela with the trekking along the crest of the northern extreme of the Andes. Tough going for me, but even El Viejo de los Andes made it. We saw condors and heard the story of the deeply depressed porter (or was he a donkey driver) who had taken up with young girl – likened to a man looking down a cliff being tempted to jump – who had been put in prison and was bailed out by his mother who had to sell the family land to get him out. Gorgeous country full of Easter revelers.

At the top of the Mèrida Tram that goes up to Pico Bolivar 
(was that the name of the mountain?)

There have been wonderful times around Torrey working out from your and Peggy’s house. You’ve given much happiness with your generosity in the enjoyment of that place.

Can’t begin to count those times – the one where we both skied on Boulder Mountain and hiked to the Great Panel in Horse Canyon. The hike out to the Red Breaks with its exceptionally important conversation. The attempt to climb a peak in the Henrys where we met snow banks. Repairing and painting the deck. Trying to seal the west end off from the woodpeckers.

There was the trip down Grand Gulch and out Bullet Canyon. The three weeks running the Colorado from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. … We’ll think of more.

As good as these places and these exertions have been, the best part has always been the companionship and the conversation. I love to hike, I think, because of the opportunities to talk with surrounding beauty as the only distraction.

We talked last summer about going to Timbuktu. Let’s do it.

The past has been great, the present is hard, but there is a future and I intend to share it with you.

Love from your friend,



daisy said...
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daisy said...
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daisy said...

Hello dear Brookie & Peggy:

It's been too long since we last posted but we think of you all of the time. We've just kept up by reading but we want to send you our love and wish you well, knowing it's with so may obstacles and challenges but also knowing that your indomitable spirit drives you... You've made such huge progress.

Time does seem to simply disappear. It's so hard to believe that it is now early April and it wasn't that long ago when you came here Brookie and visited Ma and we either celebrated your birthday or Ma's - maybe both... We all gathered at the dining room table and laughed well into the evening.

Was that 3 years ago? I am just not sure. Then we loved seeing you here last May... You had such fun watching the TV and we all watched some stupid show and we could not stop laughing. Now, I want to reassure all of your friends of great intellect, this was a rather spontaneous event... I have stayed at you house many times and the TV is rarely on...In fact, has it ever been on??? Then Peggy arrived and off to the Eastern Shore for a little trip, just the two of you.. to have a crabcake or just to read by the bay.

Now, it's Spring again and if I had thought about it, I would have taken a picture of the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms and sent it to you. It appears that everything popped at once here... Daffodils everywhere, crocuses, Bradford Pear Trees paint the woods white right now...

So, as we approach the Easter weekend, we'll reminisce, we'll remember the millions of jelly beans that You, Bill. Bobby & Speed would count furiously back on Charles street or think of the traditional Elliott/Hopkins adult hunt for miniatures in the rose garden and Big Lawn... We (that would be me and Syd and Kathy) have continued with miniature Easter "egg" hunts especially since we have so few kids in our family, so the miniature hunt has become the sought after Easter event.

We will think of you this weekend and hope that you make great progress every day.

Keep your love of life and know that we love you and wish we could be closer. xoxo Daisy and Gavin

Lorraine Seal said...

These stories got me to thinking how my experiences with Brooke have always been in the 'drawing room', so to speak -- in Brooke and Peggy's home or on campus, in classrooms, walking between buildings or the like.

Not that Brooke's energy hasn't always shone through -- I remember his restlessness in the classroom, roaming the room, bending his tall frame as he perched on the edge of a desk, combing his long fingers through his hair until it stood up in tufts as he nodded enthusiastically at a point someone made.

So it's great to see pictures of him on the trail and to imagine the landscapes he explored. Thanks for sharing these with us!

We are having our wild spring here, vivid blue skies one day, yellow flowers bright in the hedgerows and white blossoms starting to froth, then wind battering rain against the window the next. Today -- rain -- so I look out on a muddy landscape, rain pitting the puddles in the yard. But the finches nesting in the hedges still call and the blackbird sings. Wish you were here, Brooke and Peggy, to hear them too.


Kif said...

Brooke and Peggy,

This web of life is incredible. As I read Gale Dick's greetings, I am amazed once again by the synchronicity of life:

--I had the good fortune to meet Lisa, Mark and their daughter on Briland recently while running my coonhound.

--I became involved with the Salt Lake Tibetan Resettlement Project through Ron Barness.

--I went on a climb to Mutztaghata in 1986; our last stop before the mountain: Kashgar.

--I grew up with Chip and Dave Hall.

--One of my favorite camping trips ever was to Titcomb Lake in the Wind Rivers.

--Jeff Metcalf grew up with my younger sister, Norin.

--City Creek has long been a favorite place to ride and run.'

--A dear friend, Craig, who introduced me to a '10-speed' in 1968 had a biking accident in Big Cottonwood at the S-turn and lost an arm.

--Christopher Reeve had a small house once just down the road from my best friend on Haven Lane.

Though I don't know you personally, I feel as though our paths must have crossed many times.

I have been particularly inspired by your spirit. The entry about your breathing is of particular interest. A Tibetan friend is currently doing research in the neuroscience department at Stanford. His focus: how compassion relates to the brain, our states of mind, physical and emotional health.

I look forward to an opportunity to see Lisa and Mark again soon and meet you.


Kif Brown