Members will be saddened by the tragic news that David has passed away. He went hiking on Maanskijnkop alone yesterday. When he had not returned by 11:30 am the alarm went out, but he could not be found. This morning a helicopter was deployed and his body was found on a path. He had apparently had a heart attack and he still had his walking stick in his hand.
Our collective condolences go out to Elizabeth and her family at this awful time in their lives. They will cherish the memory of this wonderful man who gave so much to the community around him. He was a committed member of the HBC and served on the committee for a number of years. Many of you will remember being entertained by him at Club functions, when, with his keen sense of humour, he regaled us with birding and other stories. He died doing what he enjoyed most – walking in the mountains and communing with nature.
You will be sorely missed, David. How we wish we could alleviate the pain that your family must be suffering. We are reminded of the recent passing of Robin Richards, another keen mountaineer, whose funeral some of us attended. The words of Gen. Smuts, spoken on Table Mountain in 1923, and read at Robin’s service, come to mind;
What is that religion? When we reach the mountain summits we leave behind us all the things that weigh heavily down below on our body and our spirit. We leave behind a feeling of weakness and depression; we feel a new freedom, a great exhilaration, an exaltation of the body no less than of the spirit. We feel a great joy.
The Religion of the Mountain is in reality the religion of joy, of the release of the soul from the things that weigh it down and fill it with a sense of weariness, sorrow and defeat. The religion of joy realises the freedom of the soul, the soul’s kinship to the great creative spirit, and its dominance over all the things of sense. As the body has escaped from the over- weight and depression of the sea, so the soul must be released from all sense of weariness, weakness and depression arising from the fret, worry and friction of our daily lives. We must feel that we are above it all, that the soul is essentially free, and in freedom realises the joy of living. And when the feeling of lassitude and depression and the sense of defeat advances upon us, we must repel it, and maintain an equal and cheerful temper.
We must fill our daily lives with the spirit of joy and delight. We must carry this spirit into our daily lives and tasks. We must perform our work not grudgingly and as a burden imposed upon, but in a spirit of cheerfulness, goodwill and delight in it. Not only on the mountain summits of life, not only on the heights of success and achievement, but down in the deep valleys of drudgery, of anxiety and defeat, we must cultivate the great spirit of joyous freedom and upliftment of the soul.