My father Charles Craig Dawson passed away peacefully last night, at 86 years old, from natural causes. In deference to his memory I’ll hold of on the blogging frenzy today, and instead take time to reflect, and yes, grieve. I’ve added this intro to a previous post about him we’d put up a while ago, hence the existing comments.
Comments and condolences appreciated, as Dad’s various family and friends will be checking this out. Also, our Caring Bridge site.
Craig was a great guy. Smart, funny, and most of all quite adventurous both in intellect as well as physically bold in his younger and middle aged years. My own bent toward alpinism is easily attributed to his influence. When Craig was able, he enjoyed checking out the photos here at WildSnow, and was especially gleeful just a few days ago when I told him about my latest rambling around the Alps — something I think he’d always wanted to do when he was younger but never had the chance.
Someone pointed out that perhaps Dad waited till I got back from my latest adventure before he started his ultimate adventure. I’d like to think that. Thanks Dad!
We had a wonderful ski descent yesterday, near here in the Elk Mountains that Craig loved and first brought myself and my brothers to when we were children. His spirit was definitely with me, as it still is. RIP Dad!
Adventures of our Fathers (earlier post from October 2008)
Adventure lifestyle, where does it come from?
Many of us can trace our wanderlust straight back to our father.
My Dad is quite elderly. He still has a sharp mind. But he’s not been doing well physically, so I’ve been on the phone with him a bit more than usual. He’s stuck in a physical rehab facility, and pretty much unable to do much but lay there in his bed.
He’s a long way away, so tough to visit. Even so, I’ll be heading out east soon.
Wildsnow is a “hybrid” blog, in that we take a more magazine style approach, interlaced with true “blog” entries that are more autobiographical, e.g., trip reports and such. I don’t usually get too personal because of family privacy issues and my desire to keep our backcountry skiing focus. But today I thought I’d honor my dad. So here is a story that’s closer to the inside.
I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old. Not only was my father quite the outdoorsman back then, but he loved gardening and had quite the green thumb. He also loved hiking and exploring. I was playing in the yard or something, and he says, “Lou, I’ve got to show you something, come with me.”
With a watering can in hand, he starts hiking back into the wild bramble behind our house in New Jersey. At that age I’m just doing a trusting stumble to keep up, taking in the earthy smells and dark mystery primal forest.
I loved the feeling of a new, mysterious place. No fear, just awe.
Some distance into the forest, my father stops. Holding my hand, he kneels down before a perfect single orchid flower springing out of the dark forest floor. It’s a Jack in the Pulpit, a stunning flower that orchid lovers the world over love to cultivate. Only this one is growing naturally, nestled between tree roots in a cozy pile of humus. A riff of light floats through branches above, saturating the colors; imprinting the bloom on my soul like exposing a frame of Kodachrome film.
As dad gently sprinkles water over the orchid, I stand in wonder.