Friday, April 25, 2008

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

The Annual Work Weekend is creeping up on us, and my mind wanders to my memory of Jim Underwood. The picture is him in front of the house I currently live in. It is the lightweight concrete building now known as the Caretaker's Cottage. Dave Martin describes Jim's influence so well...


"As we look around the Spruce Knob Mountain Center it seems that there is hardly an item or a place that doesn’t bear his fingerprints, either literally or figuratively. In so many ways this place remains the manifestation of Jim’s work. Some of us worked directly with him, building yurts, patching things together, doing more with less. But while we think of Jim building things with his hands (and he was constantly building beautiful things with his hands) his real art was in inspiring others. That may have been by the loan of some tool, but it was as likely through the loan of a book, or some piece of advice or wisdom he had picked up along the way. Above all he was a thinker, a believer in the dignity of work, and the ability of a small group of people to accomplish the impossible; to quite literally transform the world."


Jim passed away 2 winters ago. His spirit still radiates through all parts of the landscape at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center, and his memory is a constant inspiration and guide.

~Nathan Hayes, nhayes@mountain.org

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