There was a most amazing sunset tonight. As I took photos of the spectacular colors, I thought to myself, “This must be what inspires painters to pick up a brush.” For as I longed to capture the beauty I was seeing through the lens, I realized it wasn’t possible. Sunsets such as this one are only perfected by those whose creative vision enables them to see through the mind’s filters and translate pure beauty to canvas for the rest of us to appreciate.
I like to think that tonight’s sunset was thanks to just such a person: Mark Eadon Smith. My friend and neighbor, a talented artist and graphic designer, unexpectedly passed away this afternoon after a courageous battle with cancer.
I spent the past 14 months with Mark and his wife, Joy, at their Lost Mountain Graphics office in Middleburg. During my transition from employee to business owner, they graciously offered me a space to begin my new journey. We shared laughs, lunches and lots of inspiration. We brainstormed ideas, commiserated our struggles and celebrated our successes, large and small. As next-door-neighbors for the past 10 years, we looked out for one another’s animals, collected newspapers and mail, and on the first Tuesday of November we had a standing date to vote and have dinner.
At the time I took photos of tonight’s sunset, I didn’t know that Mark had died just a few hours earlier. Now, I find comfort in imagining that Mark’s spirit was up there somewhere providing us with a magical display of artistry, painting the sky the colors he loved and showing us that there’s beauty in living as well as in dying. Good-bye Mark; I will miss you.