Letters to Chris

Dear Chris,

I cannot describe in one letter how grateful and proud I am to have been your friend. Capturing what you meant to me is like attempting to consolidate the world’s oceans into a tiny glass vial. You were undoubtedly the most kind-hearted, fearless and genuinely altruistic person I have ever met in my life. You were destined to change the world and have already done so. Even in your short life your accomplishments exceed those of most 70-year-olds. From environmental and political activism to volunteer work in Haiti you have committed yourself to every cause you believe in, a feat that is truly admirable.

The first time we became friends was two years ago at the Powershift Convergence in DC. Fate would have it that I would have a field trip for Fish Ecology that inhibited me from taking the bus and so I was assigned you as my carpool driver. I remember vividly in my mind the moment I got in your car outside CTB. As soon as we began talking we instantly clicked. When our conversation dwindled you played the entire album “No Eggs No Problem” which remains to be one of the only albums on my computer. It reminds me of you every time I play it.

The following day after we arrived late at our host’s house you arrived at Hall B early to prepare to facilitate a working group. The rest of us arrived later. After intros and such we were sent off to find facilitators in our respective states and I immediately sought to join your group. In the discussion that you led, CU Compost was born and still remains. However the best memories I have of you from that weekend were not at Hall B but outside the White House. I remember we decided to leave early and explore DC and so we did. We stumbled upon a large grass lawn by red flowers forming the number “1” (which I distinctly remember you frowning upon since you believed it to symbolize America’s arrogance thinking itself to be the number 1 country in the world). Nonetheless we enjoyed the flowers and frolicked on the lawn. You performed crazy stunts including impressive headstands and backflips. Your positive energy and spirit was contagious and soon all of us were attempting to emulate your tricks.

The last day of Powershift we marched and practiced lobbying in the capitol building. I remember being really uncertain of myself when I was in a room with a representative but you were unafraid of speaking up. That is one trait I really envy is that you were not afraid of authority and never concerned about being wrong. You delved into subjects you had minimal knowledge of and learned by humility. I know for a fact that you are incredibly wise because you know that people are valuable resources who possess a wealth of knowledge that you may be naive about at first until you ask them to share it.

The final memory from Powershift I have of you is when we visited the botanical gardens. I had been to them once before but enjoyed them more when I went with you. You looked so in your element when you stood in the jungle-like atrium. I really wish that I had gone on one of your adventures to Haiti or Nicaragua.

I have so many fond memories that would take me days to write about in depth. One of my best memories from this year was from earlier this semester. It was a Monday night and you had an impulse to go take time-lapse pictures. So I finished my assignment and we went out to state st. at 10 pm to photograph each other as cars came by to capture the light streaks as they did so. You happened to get a shot of my just as a bus was coming by and as soon as you reviewed the picture you expressed the most genuine excitement. When I looked at it I too was impressed by the fantastic array of light that appeared to emanate from my chest because of the bus’s light streaks. After that we scaled down the slope on the opposite side of the street in the Domino’s parking lot. We encountered a wall with a black lamp post in front of it. It was there that we took pictures of each other jumping off of it into the snow pile underneath it. I felt so connected to you at this moment since we were both having the time of our lives practicing a subject we both love; photography. Since becoming friends with you I have also become much more interested in videography and intend to continue to enhance my film-making abilities starting with a documentary to commemorate your life.

Ever since you disappeared that night we went camping I have struggled to maintain my sanity. If you did in fact drown then part of my soul rests with you at the bottom of Cayuga Lake. The void you have left will never be filled but the strength your friendship has given me will continue to motivate me to make a positive impact on the world. After all we chose friends who we know share our beliefs, embody our spirit and continue our legacy long after we’re gone. I am honored that you chose me as a friend and I will do everything in my power to fight for what you believed in and ensure that your spirit and legacy live forever. I love you, Chris. You will forever be my best friend.

-Kelsey