Guide Real Talk: Remembrance

Words by: Courtney Smart

Banner Photo by: Nick Beymer

As a Redside Liaison, I thought sharing this with fellow guides that have lost the same people as I have would be a good thing. But then, rejection after rejection came my way. I was having a hard time writing. I had to stop and think why? Just too painful? Avoidance? Too personal?

The guides I think of that have gone before us, so to speak, all loved to live in the moment. We all, as guides love the here and now and the freedom it allows us. Perhaps it would help me write if I redefined Re-MEM-BErence and for myself, made The Day of Remembrance about those here as well as gone.

I can almost hear Telly Evans saying, "Okay, then remember them all - call a guide you haven't talked to in years..." Maybe he tilted his cowboy hat back and smiled a smart ass grin as he said the words.

Telly was a big red man with sparkling eyes and heart. He seemed larger than life; as did Rusty, and Thuey, and Stephanzo, and Randy, and Rich, and Traves, and Kirby, and Slavey…and…

In fact, they were all larger than life, and so are we by connecting to those canyons and corridors we treasure. Like those gone, we are still intertwined with the energy that nature gives. We are powered and empowered by the rivers, rapids and eddies. Hear your friends, here and gone, speak to you. They know more than they ever tell and say more than we will ever hear. Hear the water and follow that purple current. It knows where to go and how to get there. Listen and learn, despite not hearing them in the first person. Hear the crows talk to each other. There are still so many lessons to take and give.

"Hear your friends, here and gone, speak to you"

Remember who got you here, who taught you here, who let you learn. Remember the guides that tested and tamed you, who brought you their hearts on their dirty sleeves and in return took care of yours. Remember that boat they rowed, and who rows it today. Remember the joy you share with the currents. This unspoken joy is what makes these fellow guides become precious gems in our timelines.

"Remember that boat they rowed, and who rows it today.

Remember the aches of the ‘off-season’ and the fight to make it to the next launch. Remember the water’s foreverness and our temporary use permit. Remember the sound of each laugh and learn from each others’ tears. Remember to be grateful, as we know no time is without change.

Remember the swims and the dark corners that scare you. They make the light more clear and confidence soar. Remember that rock, and that star, that tree, that tent site, and keep each one with you as a piece of them. Remember them in your hardest times, as we know they come and go.

Remembrance marks our time ‘out there’ as well as ‘in here’. It follows along with it our passions and dreams, losses and gains of power in slides and shifts. Remembrance, I have surmised, does not have to be only looking at what is lost. Remember what has been gained as well,  both from those no longer with us and those that still sit across the campfire from us, teaching us their lessons.

"Remembrance, I have surmised, does not have to be only looking at what is lost. Remember what has been gained as well,  both from those no longer with us and those that still sit across the campfire from us, teaching us their lessons."