Legacies

8 09 2010

My husband and I recently returned from an uplifting and rejuvenating 10-day trip in Northern California.  Our trip was filled with adventuring — everything from paddling new stretches of river (thank you University of Oregon Outdoor Program for the inflatable kayak rentals), hiking forgotten trails, encountering a rattlesnake, camping in solitude, and experiencing the first storm of the season.  Of all these experiences the most impactful adventure of the trip was being part of a celebration of life ceremony in the Trinity Alps. 

The ceremony to spread Helen’s ashes, the matriarch of my husband’s family, was the impetus for our much needed camping respite.   What better way to honor the memory of an eighty-five year old outdoor advocate and avid hiker than to adventure our way to the ceremony?  The chosen place to spread Helen’s ashes was one of grandeur and magnificence; the picturesque meadow filled with Indian paintbrush carved by a meandering stream kept company by the carnivorous pitcher plants all framed by distant granite crags became our vista and Helen’s burial grounds.

Helen’s love for nature was evident in the passion for the natural world that she passed down to her children.  She was a spirited woman with a zest for life, who advocated with an open heart for those in need and the great outdoors.  Her celebration for life brought family together, gave my niece, Helen’s great-granddaughter her first exposure to mountain camping, and gave us many more stories that will be told until the end of our days. 

It was this woman’s legacy to instill her love of nature into her children and it is my and my husband’s job to pass this legacy down to our family.  It is our job to preserve these magical places for our niece and future generations.  This is why I work at the River House Outdoor Program — to help instill respect and love for our Mother Earth in all generations with the hope that they too will want to preserve these places.  It is our job as outdoor professionals and citizens of the earth to guide young people in discovering the joys of the outdoors.  You know what?  The cool thing is I am not alone in my quest to share natural experiences with our community; there is a whole tribe here at the River House, working (and playing) to pass on legacies like that of Helen.  Thank you Helen and to the many people out there passing on legacies of their own!

Blog post written by Colette Ramirez-Maddock.  Colette coordinates the skateboarding, rock climbing, and biking program for the River House Outdoor Program.

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2 responses

8 09 2010
Terry

Very nice tribute to a very special person great job Colette!

8 09 2010
Shane

Very beautiful post Colette.
Thank You!

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