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Safe Travelling, Art

Webster defines quintessential as “1: the fifth and highest element in ancient and medieval philosophy that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies. 2: the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form.”

We’ve got another: Art Roscoe.

Art is the longest standing High Uintas Preservation Council board member— our founding board member, in fact— and after 8 years of guiding us, he has decided to leave the board as he and his wife, Nancy, continue to prod, poke and search for ways to awaken our conscience to living meaningful, centered lives.

There is no way we can ever thank Art. In the early summer of 1996 when we were locking the old Utah Wilderness Association doors after its 17 year run, Art walked into that empty office and said, “I want to get involved.”
“You’re too late. This is our last day.”
“So what? There are no last days.”

A couple of months later he was regaling a new organization, the High Uintas Preservation Council, and a few new board members with poetry (some of it bawdy, some of it funny, some of it exceptional and deeply personal, some of it memorized and long, some made up on the spot, and some bad (sorry, Art!))

He brought to every board meeting a sense of life and living, joy and grace. Even in anger and frustration Art found a way to find buoyancy. He knew when to take week long back country ski trips and how never to be overwhelmed. He raised the initial money to get HUPC started and to keep us on track. He sought out members, did our workshops, held our hands, hobnobbed with anybody and everybody.

He is quintessential and he is the pure antonym of xenophobe. Art found goodness in everybody because that is what he is. While this is Art through and through, there is no doubt it is Nancy as well. The two of them seem to revel in just being good folk.

We are forever and ever, again and again, grateful. While we will miss him at our monthly board meetings, he will remain active in the issues we grapple with and a host of others. His howl will be heard at our Rendezvous. At the same time, his spirit is so deep that he will be fused seamlessly with HUPC and the wildness of the Uintas.

Art, safe travels, good friend! Always be as curious as you have been. As Gary Snyder reminds us in this stunning poem:


in the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
the creak of boots.
rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

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