Along with the entireEastern Sierra community, I was crushed to learn of the recent and unexpected passing of our dear friend, James Wilson. James was a lifelongchampion of the Eastside, and much of his vibrant life was devoted to protecting the wild spaces and creatures we all cherish. His passion, dedication and vision for our region will be deeply and sorely missed.

James Wilson 2Because no one has said it better in my mind, I quote here a reflection that we can all hold close as we remember this wiseand generous man.In James’s own words:

“Life is short. We know that. Every day the planet seems to shrink. Its getting smaller with technology and travel. And we are beset with political, economic, environmental, and social woes at every turn. The news is something to avoid. Amidst this chaos we seek and find solace in the magic, mystery and beauty of birds…

…Life is a journey, perhaps a tapestry of events. Sometimes perilous, frequently unexpected, but the friendships we make are the threads that pull the tapestry together.” -from James’s introduction of Tom & Jo Heindel at the first Owens Lake Bird Festival this pastApril

In 1977, James and his wife Kay moved to Bishop; they opened Eastside Sports, providing our community with theequipment and encouragement needed toexplore firsthand the wonders of the Eastern Sierra’s wildest places. He was a co-founding member of Friends of the Inyo (1986), and was an active participant in a great many environmental and civic groups and efforts. An avid outdoorsman, James was particularly passionate about birding, and helped found the Eastern Sierra Audubon Society in 1983.

James leaves behind his wife, Kay, daughter, Roseanne, son-in-law, Bayard, and grandson, Ansel. A lovely and heartfelt celebration of James’ life, family, and accomplishments was held in his honor near the shore of Mono Lake this pastSunday, August 2nd. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the large gathering. Those with memories of James are encouraged to visit his memorial site here and share their stories.

“In the end all we can really say is thank you, James. He taught us how to weave a rich life of wildness, service and friends into one of the most beautiful living tapestries around: the community of life here in the Eastern Sierra.”Paul McFarland, Friends of the Inyo

Photos here are courtesy of Chris Howard, and were shared on the memorial website dedicated to James.

James Wilson