Indulge me, please. This matters to me.
I have the usual things to post but I cannot bring myself to do so. Late last night I arrived home from a pleasant weekend jaunt to find an email informing me that a college friend -- someone I'd only seen once in all the years between -- died and was cremated two weeks ago.
You wouldn't think this would hit me so hard. But Tim was such a good man, made of such solid stuff, and had such a puckish sense of humor. Always in the back of my mind was a sense that he was out there somewhere, and happy, and that the world was a better place for that.
Now Tim Tomlinson is gone and there's a hole in the world the exact shape and size he was.
Forty years have passed like the turning of a hand. For the first time, I feel old. I mourn this friend as I would have had he died back then.
I will not tell you stories, sum up his character, or try to tell you why you are the poorer for his passing. Such tales are for those who knew him. John Donne had it right:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed way by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thy own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
When first I read those words, I was moved by their majesty but too young to understand them well. Now I know that death is part of the price of admission, that life is hard stuff, meant for heroes only, and that we are all made profound by our final destiny.
Turtle, as we all called him back when, will be missed. All you who never knew him would mourn his passing, if only you could.