Marty was my Brother. 7 years between us made it so in the younger years, I looked up to and idolized him in his quiet confidence, the adventures he went on and his bold courage in living life to the max. He and a sister discovered climbing and built a bouldering cave in our garage, spawning my love for climbing as well.
I was young, but I remember being in awe when he built a skateboard ramp by himself! Probably his first big project that led to his love of building. He definitely was proud of it but I think the rest of us kids also were proud of him! What an accomplishment. That ramp led to one of his first skateboard injuries. I remember playing one day and he came around the corner, all bloodied, skateboard under arm, didn’t say anything, but I could tell he was on the verge of tears. We knew what happened without asking. He didn’t ask for help, just quietly took himself to his room to clean up. That didn’t stop him from continuing. None of his wipeouts did.
Later on in life when I was venturing out on my own and travelling around BC, I “ran into him” a couple of times. Both by total fluke. Once at Rainbow beach (we called it) on Vancouver Island. We were setting up camp and there he was in all of his “natural glory!”, naked as the day he was born walking down the beach!
The second was when I decided to move to Nelson. We knew that he was “somewhere” in the Kootenays at that time. About 5 days after I arrived, I ran into him on Baker street! I was still in a hostel at the time and he invited me to live with him in the Slocan valley in a little trailer that he was renting. He stayed there less than a month when the wild called to him again and off he went! I was in a new town and he introduced me to some people and secured me a living situation and then disappeared again like a phantom. He felt like a bit of a guardian angel to me at the time.
Speaking of guardian angels, I remember hearing a story my mum told about him. He learned to walk well before 1 year old! He, one time, I guess heard the call of the wild and managed to escape from my parents place and walked himself down to busy Granville Street. Some ‘lady’ returned him home saying where she had found him. She disappeared so quickly that my mum didn’t even have a chance to ask her how she knew he lived there! My mum swears it was a guardian angel who returned him home.
He may have always had a guardian angel by his side, with all the near close calls on the cement, on rock or in the mountains. I wish Paul Russell was still here to tell some of their tales in the mountains: of being dug out of avalanches and having to backtrack terrain in the night in order to find a safe route out. I always thought that it was Paul Russell who was the voice of reason in those situations but now I hear stories of times when it was Marty who became leader to figure their way out of a gnarly and potentially fatal circumstance. I guess they both balanced and encouraged each other in their quests for adventures but also in their sense of responsibility to the other.
And, in later years, Marty’s love for his daughter was so apparent. He took on the role of stay at home dad with such love and dedication and began taking his daughter Maggie (and the Pug) on small adventures. What a gift to give a young one: the love of this beautiful planet!
Marty’s spirit is free. He soars still in the winds of the Alpine and in the great beyond which I really think he was ready to accept without fear or hesitation … only with a sense of the next great adventure.
Marty, I know you know ……. you are Forever Loved.
Until we meet again….