Brandon Southward subscribed to a different set of rules; he made you think when others just went with the flow. He transcended the manner in which a mundane task would be performed. That is why he was, in life as in death, an enigma. I am not saying that Brandon Southward was perfect, or that he even made all the right choices, anyone that knows him could tell you that, but there was something about him that made you realize how different he was from you and from everyone else.
I would often hear stories about Southward; they were ludicrous, eccentric, but never innocuous. From going into the mountains and climbing trees wearing the same amount of clothing as the minute he was born; to taking a good book into an ice bath and an hour later having to be treated for hypothermia because he was so enthralled by the literature that he forgot about the frigid waters his body rest in. Sleeping in attics, saving a teammate in a bar fight, a weeklong business trip to Brazil that turns into three months; whatever it was, he was not just going through the motions, he was living. I don't think he ever knew what the next adventure would be, maybe that is why he was such a mystery, but whatever it was, he was not afraid.
I went on a trip with him in the mountains once; Brandon, myself, and one other teammate tunneled into a snowdrift, made a cave and slept inside. It was hard work, but it was also one of the most fun and adventurous trips I have ever taken. It has always stood out in my mind, even before his death, how much he cared about our safety and well-being. He went so far as to have an escape plan where we would follow him and his shovel if the cave collapsed. Never a cruel word was spoken or an iniquitous action taken, he was a leader, a gentleman and a friend. He had a spirit and a passion that burned from within; I hope someday to have a son with similar qualities. I do not know how many peoples lives he has touched, but he has touched mine, and I will continue to live with the spirit of Brandon Southward inside of me and only hope to affect another as he has affected me.