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Christopher


We joined the River Ayr roughly halfway along its 40-mile journey from its source at Glenbuck to its mouth at the seaside town of Ayr on the west coast.  Towards the end of our outward walk along the riverbank, we came to an old rusted pipeline that passed over it.  It was a bridge for daredevils and thrill-seekers and a place that has doubtless served as childhood initiation ceremonies for generations.  The world was your playground and your eyes were wild with love when you saw it.  The appearance of the pipeline ushered in an early Christmas for you, and if I listened really carefully I could almost hear the atoms in your body fizz and pop and whirr with excitement.  You vaulted the iron spikes of its fence and Amos followed suit soon after.  It was around this time that Wakina’s face dropped.  She spoke to her compatriot in rapid Kenyan.  “Why do you have to be such a dumbass, Amos?  You are 41 years old.  When are you going to learn to grow up?”  I don’t know any Kenyan so I can't be sure that's what she said, but I can imagine it was words to that effect.  The British onlookers were stereotypically restrained when it came to talking you back – our warnings were polite allusions to danger as we listed the possible side effects of falling, while Wakina was almost on the phone to Amos’ wife.  You hesitated for a few minutes while her remonstrations with Amos continued, but again I saw that wild, hypnotised look in your eyes.  Amos was in two minds; you were not.  There was nothing else that you wanted more.  This was your destiny.  You would do it for Canada.  As I stepped back to frame the scene, an adaptation of the Hericlitus quote came to mind: "No man ever falls into the same river twice."  You walked steadily across the pipeline to the fence on the other side, turned and walked back again. You climbed back over in victory and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.  A crisis had been averted.  No hospital waiting room for us this time.  We all loved you deeply, and over the course of the next week and a half we loved you deeper still, but let's face it: if there was one thing worse than dragging your limp body out of that river, it was being the one nominated to tell Simon.        

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