Some in Colorado will miss Dylan Redwine for the rest of their lives. The amiable Lewis-Palmer Middle School student disappeared shortly after he arrived for a visit at his father's La Plata County home last November in southwest Colorado. His remains were found last month on Middle Mountain, about 10 miles from his father's home.
Discovery of Dylan's remains brought closure to an agonizing mystery and ended hopes the boy was alive and well and simply out of contact. His disappearance was national news. Coloradans have lived with the tragic story for seven months. We've held birthday parties and vigils, worn "Dylan" bracelets, posted fliers and kept hope alive on social networks as a testament to our community's reverence for life.
In a thoughtful and heartwarming turn of events, a longtime southwest Colorado resident started the Facebook page "Change Middle Mountain to Dylan's Mountain, Colorado."
It's a fantastic idea. This mountain has stood for millions of years and to date has a bland and forgettable name.
Pikes Peak, Long's Peak, Maroon Bells, Mount Evans and Middle Mountain. To quote Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the others. The first four are famous, at least to anyone who spends much time in Colorado. Middle Mountain, not so much. Suffice to say, if "Middle Mountain" were changed to something else we might be hard-pressed to find anyone with a nostalgic longing for the old moniker.
Perhaps the best reason to change the name of this mountain is the reaction of Dylan's mother upon learning about the Facebook page.
"I think it is a wonderful gesture for Dylan," Monument's Elaine Redwine wrote in a text message to The Durango Herald. "The entire community was behind the efforts in finding Dylan, and to have the place where he was found named after him would be a great way to celebrate his life and give the community a place to join in this celebration of his life."
Absolutely. Nothing will restore Dylan to our state, but the mountain would forever honor this young person while bringing comfort to the searchers and survivors who so desperately wish he could live out his life.
The proposal has received some early opposition, even from those who care about Dylan. Denise Hess, a longtime family friend who devoted much of the past seven months to finding the boy, said she doesn't want the mountain to serve as a constant reminder of Dylan's death.
"I don't want to go up there and say 'that's where he laid for seven months,'" Hess told the Herald.
We ask Hess, and others who may feel the same, to take some time and reconsider.
Mourning, especially when it involves the death of a child, is a long process of ever-changing emotions. Today, those who loved Dylan are reeling with grief. His memory will never be easy, but over time we heal by remembering and celebrating those we have lost. We resolve nothing by avoiding reminders.
Those who are uncertain about this idea should take solace that change won't happen fast. Renaming the mountain would involve extensive process by the U.S. Board on Geographic names. A namesake must be deceased at least five years before the board will consider a proposal, so if all goes well this idea will receive government consideration no sooner than November 2017.
Dylan didn't discover or conquer Middle Mountain. In his short life he never settled a town or a region. He was just a great kid who should not be dead. Dylan's Mountain would keep the boy's memory alive in a positive and constructive way for generations to come.