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Morgan Black's Tribute to Aidan

AidanAt the Celebration of Life on February 19, 2006 Morgan Black spoke of Aidan's essence and spirit and planned to give everyone something to take away with them…a beautiful butterfly … a symbol of transformation. Morgan had a rendition of the butterfly that Aidan had painted on her ski helmet redesigned and made into stickers. The cutting machine at the ‘sticker factory’ broke and the stickers were not ready in time for the service however since then they have since been distributed far and wide.

Thank you to Colin, Mab, Rowan and Sean for allowing me his opportunity. My name is Morgan, one of Aidan’s many friends.

When I think of who Aidan was, I think of the wild, or nature. Nature in the way a river is pure, the mountains stand magnificent, and the birds chatter.

A few years ago Aidan and Sean came to visit me in southern Alberta for a ski. Aidan had just bought a ski helmet and had decided that it needed a little more life in it before she could wear it with pride. She had brought her paints with her, as she always did, and spent all night working on her helmet. What resulted was the coolest, most magical piece of headgear around - a butterfly with mountains and light at its core and flames at its edges. A rendition of that painting is the butterfly you see around this afternoon.

The next day Aidan and I decided to trade gear for a few runs. She hadn't put on down hill ski gear in 6 or 7 years. At her request we headed up to the top of Castle Mountain for a go -- Aidan adorned in foreign gear and her new butterfly.

The rest of us were still getting sorted when Aidan was off. She flew down the cirque in 3 or 4 turns — her wild whooping and laughter floating up to us. Snow was blowing in streams of clouds behind every arc. Aidan looked absolutely beautiful, fast, light and confident. By the time Sean and I limped in a not so close second behind her, her eyes were alight, she was breathing hard and giggling uncontrollably.

It seemed to me that when Aidan was in the wild she herself became wild. She collected natural splendour around herself then emitted the essence of those things from her being. She was beautiful natural splendour herself.

Aidan took the power and complexity of the rock and made it her home. The way an animal makes its way in its own habitat, Aidan moved with the grace and natural agility of an animal that has evolved for millions of years to be just there. She was part of the rock and snow.

Aidan could be as gentle as a breeze, making everyone feel loved, comforted and soothed by her presence. She could also be as powerful as a storm, moving purposely and passionately towards her goal.

Aidan was as beautiful as spring - fresh and colourful and light through the haze of winter. Her smile always welcome after enduring hardship.

Aidan's easy laughter and absolute silliness flowed like a stream under hollow ice popping and bubbling and chuckling through anything. Aidan’s gifted touch with circumstance made everybody and every moment special.

Aidan was creative like snow sculptures on a ridge. Her paintings and wordsmithing flowed from her differently every time. She was bold with her art, and brave in exposing herself through these mediums.

And ultimately, Aidan was kind - kind like a nap in a flowered meadow or a sunny meditation atop a mountain. She easily stepped outside of herself for others. A soft voice and kind words were innate to her being.

May her silver lined butterfly wings hold her aloft for each of us. A gift from the miracles of nature — we are all changed for having been touched by her spirit.

I hope the butterfly will go back with us into the world. It will unite us in our personal transformations from having known and now lost Aidan. It will also remind us that when we need her we can find her again in nature's creatures, the wind, a spring day, an icy stream or a sculpted snowy ridge.