Thursday, February 21, 2008

elegy for a wanderer

I discovered yesterday that someone I would call friend died several weeks ago. He was a writer, and a talented, fearless one. He was a wandering philosopher, willing to instantly pull up stakes and leave if the whim so took him--even if it was perhaps not the best time, nor in his best interest, to do so. His personality was unique, quirky, fun, and curious. He could be passionate in argument and sublime in mulling over new concepts. He had a pair of the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen. I met him when he was 19 or 20, and I still recall my introduction to this scruffy young man as he kicked a hackey-sack by himself in my backyard for what seemed like hours, content and meditative in his solitude, yet so bright and engaging when finally drawn into conversation.

Talking with another friend earlier today, we considered the challenges of being different, sensitive, and perhaps more deeply in tune with what is actually necessary and right in this world in order for it to continue into any semblance of balance and light. Such perspectives have many differing labels, correct or not. Unique. Bipolar. Creative. Genius. Insane. Writer. Philosopher. Free spirit. Bum. Drifter. Genuine soul. I am reminded, in a way, of Chris McCandless of Into the Wild fame--the young man who could not stand what he saw in the world he inhabited, and who left it in search of something more. Marching--or, more accurately, dancing and singing and laughing--to the beat of a defiantly and solidly singular beat, people who may carry those labels, and more, might be our ultimate salvation, no? Meeting those of cookie cutter ilk is not exciting. It is not new. It does not make us question our lives, our views, our beliefs. No, it is those who look askance at this world, and then do whatever they can to rock it, who help nudge more consciousness into our minds and hearts.

Dusty's ashes are scattered, I am told, in the red rock land very near where the photo on this blog was taken. It makes me smile to think that I can say hello to him that way, the next time I am there. I imagine him knocking around a hackey sack, writing with intense concentration, and smiling with earnest gravity at the kids he tried to help in the field.

This is for you, Dusty Quinn. I hope you're still writing, wherever you may be now.

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