It’s the last Sunday in January. More than 300 guests walk single file into the Arcata Community Center in far North California. Some wear blazers with sneakers, and some wear gingham dresses with muddy hiking boots. They patiently wait their turn and then sign their names into the guest book.
They are here to celebrate an extraordinary young man. His achievements are perfectly organized and displayed chronologically on a series of tables. There he is as a little boy with his father and grandfather preparing to launch a rocket into the Colorado sky. There are snapshots of a handsome kid with lank hair climbing on rocks, and another where he is playing his guitar. Then a pair of blue canvas shoes with sand still clinging to shredded soles.
You glance up and see someone who resembles the young man. It’s his brother. He’s a different kind of free spirit, with glasses and blond-green hair, his skinny body clad in Doc Martens, a Phish hoodie, and a Bikini Kill T-shirt. He stops for a moment and looks at the different stages of his brother’s travels, and then moves on alone.