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Lions Roar : March 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 37 and my goals—wilderness designation in the Yaak—while I stayed home with my family, grilling asparagus, grinding home- made ice cream, and working on pretty little stories. For that, our paths diverged ever so slightly. He kept going to the bars. He loved to socialize, loved the idea of community, even one that fought. He was scrawny but never lost a fight. They say his punch was like being kicked by a mule. People had no idea where the strength, the fierceness, came from. They hated him. They hated his ebullience, his irrepressible joy, his creativity. He had such a genius for creating a civilization hewn into the rough mountains. He helped orchestrate a parade of giant puppets through the heart of the little town—dragons and lumber- jacks, a swaying Yaak Ness monster, a winged angel—and he started a native-plant-restoration company, planting seedlings and stitching back together much of the natural beauty that had been taken away. He spent a lot of time digging in the ground and he spent a lot of time in the nearby city of Libby. You might have heard of Libby—hundreds dead, thousands sick from an invisibility in the air, nano-fine asbestos fibers swirling, the toxic legacy of W.R. Grace. The tumors started out in Scott’s hip and lungs, spread to his spine. For a while, he was able to keep up with the ones on his lungs by having them cut or frozen off. Back when he first got sick, he and I took our daughters to a recreational park in north Idaho called Silverwood, a junior- league Disneyland kind of place, with roller coasters, log rides, waterslides. He was uncomfortable—he’d already had a big grapefruit chunk of bone taken out of his pelvis—but was not yet in steady, deep pain. Eco-warriors and woods savages from the Yaak, we were silly to spend a summer day at such a place, with its sunblock, frozen slushies, water cannons, flip-flops, and hokey fiddle theme-park music. Yet it was as full and wonderful a long summer day as I can remember. We went on all the thrill rides and screamed, laughing, all the way down. At one point, standing in line, he said that he sure wanted to be around long enough for the basics—to see his girls graduate from high school, then college, then get married, etc. You always bargain, I guess. We start out so boldly, owning every- thing, and then—at the peak—we want to hold on to what we have and keep it all just the way it is. If my memory serves me correctly, we went there on the longest day of the year. I DID NOT INVITE Scott to this place—to paradise—but still he came here as if bidden by me. For him, I opened the gates, shared and showed him the best places, the secret places. I cannot tell you PHOTOBYLOWRYBASS