How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
–Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams
Beloved author Barry Lopez died December 25, 2020 in Oregon, surrounded by family and peace.
Lopez won a National Book Award and a PNBA Award in 1987 for Arctic Dreams. He won another PNBA Award in 1995 for Field Notes and was a finalist on numerous occasions.
A good man, a poet, a soothsayer, a traveler, a mystic is gone from this world.
— Stacy Lawson, Seattle author
NPR posted a powerful obituary by Dave Blanchard on “All Things Considered.”
His wife, Debra Gwartney, shared beautifully about his last day on his website after his passing. The passage ends with:
His legacy will only grow from here—thank you for helping sustain a life imbued with intention and purpose. One of his most oft statements: ‘I want to live a life that helped.’
His life helped.