ephealy departs

I have read of Evan Healy's passing, commemorated in a few words on his home node. I was not aware of his illness, but in retrospect I see it gives some context to what I knew of him here.

His energy as a noder made a great impression on me, as did the frank humility with which he accepted corrections. I see now that he must have been trying to get a lot done in a stretch of time that he knew would be limited but of unknown length. Most of us have more time to work with than he did, but we don't feel the pressure as keenly and consequently get far less done. Perhaps it is possible to learn from him even so, even now.

We did not correspond so very much, but enough that I will miss him and feel sobered by his death. Feeling sobered means that I see the things recently on my mind to have been less important than they have seemed at the time. My mind has been on trivialities of daily life as I guide two young relatives around the city on their first visit away from their parents. It has also been a little on the dangers, imagined or real, of the U.S. holiday that is upon us. Well, if the New York subway is gassed or the San Andreas Fault is mined with explosives, what would be the real result for me and the people I love? It is easy enough to take sides in a struggle between embezzling capitalism and inhumane Islamist fundamentalism or to worry about the Decline of the West. But these are big abstractions - another kind of triviality not much different from showing the kids around town. The real questions are how I live and what I leave behind when I die. In those things, what difference is there between dying of gas on the subway and dying of the failure of a weak heart?

With ephealy on my mind, I have to admit the main issue is in what I do with my days and hours right now. It's not easy to remember in all the bustle of events that I, too, will die before too very long.

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