I was shocked to learn that Alan of This Moment had passed away two days ago. I had never personally met Alan, but he stopped by here regularly and I visited his site daily until he stopped posting regularly.
I’m never quite sure what’s proper and improper etiquette in this virtual world, but I wrote him an email in October enquiring about his health. I never guessed from his reply just how serious his health problems were, especially since he ended with, “Your bird pics still put a smile on my face – I do like the ‘conducting’ mallard :)”
When I first cited this Thomas Hardy poem I said that I would be happy if my grandchildren remembered me this way.
When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
“He was a man who used to notice such things”?
If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid’s soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think,
“To him this must have been a familiar sight.”
If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, “He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone”?
If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
“He was one who had an eye for such mysteries”?
And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell’s boom,
“He hears it not now, but used to notice such things”?
I’ll miss Alan and his comments, but I’ll always remember with fondness that he “used to notice such things.”