Dad, it is hard for me to put into words what you meant to me. My life with you seemed to be in chapters, just as from one of your books. From a young age, I have vivid memories of my first fishing pole (I must have been 7 yrs. old) and walking to fish with you at the end of the Berkeley pier. You making the coffee table out of a slice from a 200yr+ redwood tree that still has a place in your living room. Crashing my first “Cox” airplane in the field at my elementary school. Building and firing model rockets, fishing for crawdads at heather farms and holding my first peregrine falcon. Growing up with bear cubs, sleeping with deer’s, having a timber wolf as man’s/boys best friend, and raising an arctic wolf until he was too big (and dangerous) to keep. And of course, my most loved animal of all was Sioux, our first mountain lion cub that I thought of like a little brother. My memories of backpacking at 11,000 feet and getting altitude sickness during a lightning storm that felt like missiles striking all around us. Getting my red cross canoeing license with you at age 12, teaching me how to rock climb and how to survive on my own in the middle of death valley or by digging snow caves in the white mountains. I can go on and on but the truth is dad, I thank you for giving me the skills to know how to survive my most difficult challenge, life.
One of the hardest things for me was seeing how you changed over the years. You battled a difficult illness called crohn's disease your entire life and it changed you. But what I saw is that while life got harder, you continued to live it through your writing. You helped in different ways by turning your backpack in for a pencil you shared your experiences with others. You raised countless dollars for helping animals in need and inspired others to continue your mission.
Thank you, Dad, for being you, giving me the skills to take on this world we live in, and encouraging others to continue your desire to help all living creatures no matter how small or transparent they may be to this busy world that we live in.
I will deeply miss you.