Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Ode to Russell Towle

I am so sad to learn that Russell has left us. Above are a couple of photos that I took of him. The first shows him with his good old pruning shears at the tree he referred to as the "Blasted Digger". I tried to tell him that "Digger" was a derogatory term and Grey Pine would be better. Russell said that he knew it was a racist term but they were racist times and he was going to be true to history. I was fine with that. You'll also note those pruning shears in his hands. Each time I went out with Russell he had those shears with him to help keep the trails open. He's pointing up toward Giant Gap rattling off one of his stories. You've got to love those Russell stories, he had so many of them and always told them with enthusiasm. The other picture is at the cabin in Secret World. Russell was a GOOD man, damn I'm sad he's gone.
I didn't know what to think when I first shook the hand of this man, with the curly gray hair and frumpy clothes, and the stuble on his chin, reminiscent of a hobo. And in spirit I suppose he was somewhat of a hobo; he didn't fit in with conventionality, you see, Russell was a free soul. And I later learned that he had hitched rides upon the rails, and I wasn't surprised, for by then I learned his spirit yearned for freedom, and I supposed mine does too, but Russell didn't live as I, from 9 to 5, he followed his soul and somehow got by living close to nature, as I wish that I could. And he played the guitar and he sang in Portugese and he discussed paleobotany and history and geology and who know how many ologies this hobo free spirit of a man was versed in, for he was a far more complex of a man than I, and as a true hobo, Russell never did condescend, you see, this man that I knew, he was genuine; he loved knowledge and life and lived with enthusiasm. And when I first shook the hand of this hobo of a man, with the stuble on his chin, I looked into his eyes and I instantly liked him.
I know you're not resting in peace Russell, you're free and you're blazing trails through the cosmos. Maybe one day you can take me on some of those trails as well.
Ronald Edwin Lane


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ronald, for adding your story!

Karen said...

Thank you, it was beautiful and touching to read and tears are falling freely down my cheeks...and I smile to think of him blazing trails across the cosmos. Karen

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