Garth Gilner

The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

He could be as hard as the anvil you pounded and ferried a horseshoe on, and as soft as the Appaloosa’s mane that would reject the very shoe he made. Why? Because Indians don’t shoe their horses, bro!

That was my brother – born a century too late, posing as a cowboy but a true Indian inside. Or was he a samurai warrior, fluent in Japanese and as quick to impress with the delicacies of a tea ceremony as with the full purchase of the Katans blade. Seppuku would have been his answer – the honorable warrior’s way out. If it had not been for the wings of the dragonfly whose grace and beauty lifted the spirit of the warrior to a far distant battle of peace and tranquility, which was not often found in life

Some would say it was the hoofs of the mighty bison that trampled Garth in his everyday life, but to all of us who knew him, we would say it was Garth who stampeded life and tore the very beating hearts out of our chests with his wicked humor, overindulgence, my way or the highway, have not care not – and throw caution to the wind spirit of living.

He was infectious! When you were around him you did not whether you would be burned by his fire, or dried by his ice. He was as at home in an Armani suit ruling Asia, as he was sitting around a campfire stirring the coals and braising the meat. A gambler and a poker player he was, all in or nothing. There was no middle ground.

All of us have more than one story about the invincible Garth and it is during this time of celebration that we will share them all. I, for one, hear my brother’s voice right now saying: “Zeke, enough with the knitting already – break out the Jack and pass the peace pipe. I am in the big teepee in the sky and out hunting. I am happy and at peace right now and wish all my friends the same. When it is your time, my flap is open and the happy hunting grounds bountiful. We will make medicine, and make meat, and pass the peace pipe while the squaws tend to the chores and take care of the young. We are men and warriors and when you visit me you will ride me. I am Garth, the fire horse and I will buck you off! That is, and always will be my medicine.”