If there was ever a man with plans, Garrett Smith was it. He was always dreaming, planning, next weekend, next month, next year. That morning, the light will fall just so on the domes of Israel. That evening, the glowsticks in the hot springs will delight a redhead floating in their midst. The snow conditions should be just right. Wear your red jacket.
He lived for moments. He captured them, caught them, collected them, like so many butterflies, dusty wings preserved through a winter they never could have survived on their own. Through his images we can see evidence a live well lived.
An old woman in South America looks through Garrett’s eyes and into our own. We see nieces and nephews, squealing with delight as their gangly uncle rocks out to AC/DC, and helps them roast hot dogs on a pitchfork.
We can nearly smell the arid desert air, the snap of juniper. Do you feel the grains of sand on the red rock beneath your feet? Do you hear the river? Garrett did.
Do you see the oceans in her eyes? The love? Garrett did.
He was truly a visionary, through both his life and his lens. I mean literally, visionary. He visualized, imagined how something would be, and then come hell or high water, it would occur. He was determined. He was reckless, occasionally. He was well trained, experienced, but liked to feel the edge, that blade separating safe from exciting. I watched him crack open his head on the Alcove Swing on the base of El Capitan one year, then nearly break his ankles on the same swing the next. He could always pick himself up, shake it off. No big deal. On to the next plan, next adventure, next photo. He was unstoppable, insatiable, stubborn.
On Saturday, an avalanche swept away Garrett and all his plans.
There is nothing we can do, not for Garrett, not anymore. But Garrett has done something for all of us, each one of us who ever knew him, each of us reading this, because he has reminded us, so painfully and forcefully, of the delicate and fleeting nature of life. We’re not here forever. So plan, dream, prepare; go and do. Go and do one thing you didn’t think you could, or never thought you would. Go and do something you love. Learn something new, meet someone new. Fall down. Get up. Try again. Every once in a while, look back at it all- those photos, journal entries, letters, home videos. Feel that joy again, and that gratitude for the opportunity to live, to experience this crazyamazingpainfulbeautiful world we share.
Because folks, all too soon, that wall of white comes for each of us.
And while it sweeps away all of your plans,
It cannot erase those memories, those days you lived and people you loved.
So live your dreams.
Because you can.
And Garrett did.
ps- Send some love, prayers, good energy, positive thoughts, whatever, to his wife Molly. She is so strong and so brave, but could probably use all the love the world can give her right now.