How Bob Was Held – By Dan Ruderman

As Falls Bear Rock Falls, So Falls Bob

We screamed

sang in other languages

known to none

known to all

known to send the souls onward,

to tie the blood lungs to air, to wind

Wings over the valley

Shadows deep into the earth

Water falls

by our tears.

Good bye, our friend

His laugh winds,

weaving the unknown into the known.

He showed us how to age

showed us how to die

shows us how to go on.

“Go on”, he says, “Wake the fuck up!

and “This waterfall is treacherous; I could never take this ride alive!” “Even now, my almonds are falling off

where Michael bit me, that 

cannibal kai-yo-tay trickster!”

“Even now, my flaky crust is bumping against these rocks, 

slipping past,

surrendering to the pull

free falling in the slipstream water fall”

“Even now, the valley, my valley, calls you men”, he says.

“Go down there and show the others

This known way to live

This known way to love

This known way to die

This known way to grieve.

It is not unknown to you how to live”

On October 16, 2021, men gathered on the mountain for the first Spirit Camp in 2 years.  We met to nourish our souls as we have been doing for more than 30 years in a way that Bob Cote and Jeffrey Duvall brought to these particular hills on the Appalachian Trail.

Bob Cote died in 2020 and we brought his ashes to the top of the waterfalls knows as Bear Rock Waterfall this day.  Along with sage and drum, and Bob’s favorite treat, an almond croissant from Richard Bourdon’s Berkshire Mountain Bakery, 24 men walked in silence to and from the camp to the rocks that edge the falls.

We laughed and cried, sang and screamed on those waterfalls. The hoop drum played by “Two Bears” Hock came alive, and Brandon “Five Bears” channeled a sory song to carry us along.  Bob was in every breeze, and Jeffrey splashed us all with water. He, Michael and Colby read poems. Jonathan K later said he saw the painted bear on Hock’s drum release its spirit and dance above it, and we moved spiritually around the four directions, boys playing in running water, lovers grieving, warriors walking the sacred way and kings scanning the vastness of our domain.

The poem came shortly after, as we rested and the winds tickled the languishing dock with wavelets and the trees played golden slumbers with their leaves.