Tricia Booker Photography

October 14, 2011

Mark's Sunset

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.

9 comments

  1. Your photo is beautiful and equally beautiful is your tribute to your talented friend, Mark. My deepest sympathy for your loss, Tricia. I am sending comforting, peaceful thoughts into the universe for all who knew and loved him.

  2. I met mark while playing high school golf together in south Florida. We built a strong friendship together, we debated politics, we discussed books and we both loved art. Today is April 27, 2013 and I just learned of mark’s passing while trying to reconnect with my long lost friend. His mother and father and two sisters welcomed me into their home and church congregation although I only showed up at church once a year for Christmas Eve services. Mark always sat in the last row waiting for me.

    Mark never knew how much he meant to me. When I met my high school sweetheart and later married Vicki, mark moved away to college and we stopped communicating. Some years ago I contacted mark out of the blue after getting his phone number from his sister. Mark told me he and his wife had started a publication together. Since 1974 I have kept one of mark’s oil wash prints in a frame in my office to help me remember him.

    My life feels very empty today with this sad news. Mark and I laughed, played countless rounds of golf, and yes we both enjoyed talking about the sunset as we walked west together up the 18th fairway together. So in closing your sunset image is the perfect way for me to remember mark as the tears roll down my cheeks. Wade Helms , Davie Florida. Miami Norland High School class of 1975.

  3. Tricia, we have never met as I live in south Florida. Your image of the sunset and your thoughts about mark are most powerful. Mark and I were friends during my high school years, but when mark moved to Virginia he just disappeared and we became disconnected around 1977. Today is April 27, 2013 and I just learned of mark’s passing from your beautiful blog thanks to a google search. When my tears stop I will share a few of my memories of mark who was a kind and gentle and funny witted 17 year old. Wade Helms, Fort Lauderdale Florida.

    • Dear Wade,

      So sorry to hear that you just discovered Mark’s passing and lost your friend again.

      I was touched to read your thoughts on Mark and the time you spent together growing up. I can picture Mark sitting in that last pew waiting for you; he was always so kind and thoughtful.

      Nearly each day I drive by their old house and think of Mark and Joy. She’s now moved to Florida to be close to her family. I miss them and the times we spent together. Each election day evening we drove to our precinct to vote and then had dinner together. Voting nights will never be the same.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and remembrances. Mark is missed.

      Tricia

      • wadeh911

        Kind of you to reply. Life has many twists and turns. This was one twist I was not prepared to discover. But in my search I did discover your most beautiful website and amazing photographs with poignant stories to make your images come alive. Reminds me of one my brother Vann who lives near Asheville NC has been creating for a number of years. I will give him yours to enjoy and you may enjoy seeing his at

        http://blueridgeimpressions.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/apple-blossom-time-along-the-blue-ridge/

        Seems we both lost a dear friend. One who you were fortunate to have known for longer than I. Mark and I were almost inseparable for 2 years in our junior and senior years of high school. What do they say, there are 3 kinds of people that we meet, some for a season and some for a reason and some for a lifetime. Although I only knew Mark for little more than a season, he remains a part of me for my lifetime. Sounds like he had the same impact on you. I have tried to contact Mark’s mother and his wife Joy to express my prayers to them. We will all miss Mark, or as he signed his name when he was 18…..Marcos .

        thanks and good luck to you in your journey through life. may health stay with us.

        Wade Helms, Davie Florida

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