Tonight I read some very sad news about the passing of my dear friend Alyssa Skye.
Some of you may know that in November 2008, I checked myself into a psychiatric ICU to do battle one on one with severe depression. And so began a very turbulent time in my life which included… and still includes.. a very tough daily struggle to climb out of the ditch. But I fondly remember the time I met Alyssa Skye out in San Francisco.. in March of 2009.
Alyssa and I had started playing e-mail tag with each other through e-mails and facebook. We started having conversations off list from the ultra-list during the time of my personal incarceration. I remember those months talking to her being very soothing and helpful. She seemed to understand me and what i was going through. She listened with an open heart and an open mind and then one day she said.. “You need a vacation..”
Without blinking an eye, I got an e-mail from Alyssa that she had bought me a plane ticket to visit her in San Francisco during my spring break. So, that March I hopped on airplane and flew to San Francisco, alone, to see my new friend. She picked me up in the airport and brought me to Pier 39 where we had lunch and some Fat Tires. Then it was up to me where to go. We ran back and forth over the Golden Gate Bridge then ran in Muir Woods where we ran underneath the giant Red Woods, along the Dipsea all the way to Stinson Beach where I soaked my legs in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.. and just stared out at the water.
She even paid for a hotel room.. and every meal we ate, every beer we drank. We talked for hours about running and hiking and rock climbing. The next day we went to the the Marin Headlands, checking out the Miwok 100 Course and the Beach down at Tennessee Valley. Down there I watched in awe as Alyssa free climbed on the rocks that the waves crashed upon. The next day we made it out towards Point Reyes and ran on the trails up there. We made it all the way out to that famous light house where we looked for whales.
Four days of my life… during my darkest days… a complete stranger who never batted an eye at flying me to California all expenses paid to simply LIVE. I will always remember this trip as a life changing experience, as a trip that put some sunshine on my darker days and when someone… or something.. greater showed me that people do love in this world. Even strangers.
It had been a few months since I had heard from Alyssa. I talked with her last week. As always we talked about her children and how much she loved them. How much she grew to hate SAR yet enjoyed the work she did in looking for those in trouble. But I’ll always remember my friend Alyssa… telling me that once I moved to Boulder she was coming over to teach me to climb lead on those Flat Irons out there… we were both so excited..
I leave you with this.. While out at Point Reyes.. we made our way to Arch Rock and headed down to the seashore where we walked along the sandy shore searching for creatures and shells. I’ll never forget the huge starfish and sea anenomes. I found a huge chunk of quartz down there.. that was too big to take home on the plane. Little did I know but my friend had picked it up and hid it in her bag… I got it in the mail a week after returning home with a book titled, “Everybody Needs a Rock.” I guess I’ll read before bed tonight…
Good Night Alyssa… I’ll miss you friend. Keep bringing me that sunshine.