It's hard to summon words large enough to capture Maddy's loving impact in our world. He and I first met on our high school wrestling team where he repeatedly kicked my ass (he was such a talented wrestler), but did so with a humility and degree of mentorship such that I grew as an athlete and a person, and we developed a deep friendship. When I got a bad concussion my senior year of high school, Maddy showed up at my house the following day sporting his signature optimism and a 'concussion care package' full of dark sunglasses, ear plugs, and other goodies. He cared, deeply, about all life around him. An absolute goofball full of unconditional kindness.
We both worked for a youth trail crew every summer of high school called "Junior Rangers". While the job taught us skills like professionalism and stewardship, we also grew our sense of place in the natural world, developing this appreciation side by side. In this moment I sit on the side of a mountain outside Salt Lake City, having not spoken with Maddy in over a year. The trials of adulthood bring about a natural divergence that even our technological era struggles to bridge. But despite the distance we've had in the past year, and the distance I now feel from him, I've always felt connection to him in the silence of the woods. The power of the wind tearing across treetops. Shadows and sunlight wrestling for space on the soft pine-needle ground.