I made the drive north to Portland from the Bay today, but that word seems to mean a lot to me lately. The cold fall air, the early sunset, and excitement at the thought of winter sports reminds me that this is where I love to be- in the north.

As I finished the drive tonight I checked in with my mom, who gave me another reason to think about the north. Michael Booth was a friend of mine growing up and a scientist at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  He loved the north and the great lands there. The last time I talked to him was just after my first Denali summit- he had just moved into his new job and we were both psyched about being in the north. In some ways, Michael has been a part of everything I have done in the last 15 years. He was the guy who made it cool to love the Bach Suites for Solo Cello. He took me on my first backpacking trip and went step for step with me on a 2km canoe portage I didn’t think I would finish.

Music, outside, pushing myself- sometimes you don’t realize who has helped form yourself until they are gone. Mom wasn’t sure why, but Michael died on October 11, and the outpouring of support on his facebook wall only provides a faint outline of this incredible man. I look forward to paying forward the debt that I owe Michael for the amazing love, energy, and intelligence he shared with me. I played my cello when I got home- first improvising in C minor, and then playing the Sarabande from Cello Suite #3, and somehow even without playing the past few months, all the notes came back. Thanks Michael.

Sunset in the Bay, respect for a man who burned so very brightly.

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