The Village Tree
As we endeavor to contribute to the making of a new world - this world of "how it all could be" - where endangered species are no longer created, where people are no longer poisoned, where children are no longer destined to watch their parents dismantled by poisoning, where young people are no longer tempted to experiment with deadly drugs. This world where we are more full, alive and whole as human beings. This is a bold, epic and necessary work handed to us by Chris Lucash and Zafer Estill, who we honor and dedicate ourselves to carrying as we walk through the arc of our days.
We wish so that all of this were were otherwise - that such work were not required. But this is what we have been entrusted with. We never wanted to, but we've "awoken in a sob," and now we are getting damn busy. Chris and Z's body may be buried in our woods, but they continue to whisper and guide us in our shared work - their lives and deaths are the very ground of it.
CHristopher Lucash Dec 23, 1961-June 4, 2016
Chris lived deeply with a full energy, with an adventurous spirit. He loved vastly, gave all, and dedicated his life to the care and repair of this broken world. He chose the work of red wolf/endangered species restoration...or perhaps that work chose him. There are few with the stamina he carried for such a fight in our troubled world. He spent years in the company of wolves, coyotes, bobcats and bears with a determined heart to end suffering where he could place the work of his hands upon it and make it well.
When Chris wasn't tracking or trapping wolves - exposed to the vast, ALS-causing, pesticide sprayed, industrial agricultural fields of eastern NC - he was at home with his family building a homestead. Chris loved his wife and children with a calm, yet fierce dedication. While he died earlier than we all expect to, he showed us how deeply one could live, taught us much in the way of skills and crafts, and encouraged the know-how he had learned. And in the end, when no amount of bargaining would work, he gifted those of us who were blessed with nearness, a profound learning: how to die. He taught us to the end of his days, to the very last moment. And we are grateful.
Chris died peacefully in his sleep on June 4, 2016, one year and two days after his diagnosis. He was surrounded by love at his death, arms encircled, in his own bed at home in Moncure, NC, where he knew the abundant support and care of a community who surrounded him with song and blessing during his dying time.
Chris's living and dying wish was that his children (all children) inherit a world without endangered species, without ecocide. In his dying days, he wrote at length (because he could not speak for ALS dismantling his motor nerves) of his dismay and frustration with the federal agency that employed him as a biologist - the agency charged with protecting and restoring endangered species - the agency which was dismantling the red wolf recovery project. At that very time his body was being dismantled by an industrial disease clustered in eastern NC and caused by what amounted to a regulated poisoning. It pained him so - as is pains us so - to wretched proportions - because this need not be. This is all a terrible lived nightmare, a Silent Spring for Humans.
And so, Sparkroot Farm endeavors to contribute to the making of this new world - this world of "how it all could be" - where endangered species are no longer created, where people are no longer poisoned, where children are no longer destined to watch their parents dismantled by that poisoning. This is the epic and necessary work Chris told, and handed, to his children, and to which we dedicate ourselves.
We wish so that all of this were were otherwise - certainly he did, no sane man wants to hand such a task to his children. But this is what we have been entrusted with. And so we've "awoken in a sob," and we are getting damn busy. Chris's body may be buried in our woods, but he continues to partner with us in our work - his wisdom, life and dying are the very ground of it.
zafer julian estill, aug 24, 1996-april 14, 2016
Zafer was a traveler, an explorer, and an avid tennis player who loved to skateboard, hike and kayak. Zafer loved water sports of every description and was a dedicated skier, who loved back-country runs.
Zafer loved fashion, and fine things, and worked jobs from archaeological surveying to carpentry to sustain his high-flying lifestyle. He was active in business, selling his own brand of hemp t-shirts, and firewood, and investing in the stock market. When not shredding powder, he studied business at University of Colorado at Boulder.
Zafer died peacefully in his home in Boulder, Colorado on April 14, 2016 from experimenting with heroin, four months before his twentieth birthday.