We’re all painfully aware that our physical lives here on earth won’t last for eternity, but William F. Buckley seemed like one of those people who would live forever.
Just this morning, in the car, I was listening (yet again) to the book-on-tape version (actually a CD which accompanies the book) of Buckley’s fantastic autobiography, “Miles Gone By.” Just a couple of hours after that, I heard on the news that Buckley, the Godfather of modern conservatism, died in his Stamford, Conn. home last night.
Not even a year ago, he was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia.
“Miles Gone By” concludes with Buckley’s thoughts on the final passage from life. Somewhere up there, Bill and Pat are joyfully hoisting a spinnaker together again:
Ah, but the sea always has something lying in wait for you. Perhaps, in my last years, I’ll deny it the opportunity to vex me.
But if so, how can I draw from it those fleeted moments? You have shortened sail just a little, because you want more steadiness than you are going to get at this speed, the wind up to 22, 24 knots, and it is late at night, and there are only two of you in the cockpit. You are moving at racing speed, parting the buttery sea as with a scalpel, and the waters roar by, themselves exuberantly subdued by your powers to command your way through them. Triumphalism . . . and the stars also seem to be singing together for joy.