The Seablogger has died. Future historians may comment on how, toward the end of the 20th century, the internet changed the nature of human communication through the proliferation of "web logs," now more commonly known as blogs.
A couple of years ago I had the good fortune of stumbling on (another internet-coined phrase) Alan Sullivan's blog Fresh Bilge, immediately recognizing him as a Zeitgenosse: same age, same education, raised in the same region of the country, with some of the same interests. There was one critical difference, however. Three years earlier, still in the prime of life, he'd been diagnosed with a dangerous and ultimately fatal illnesss.
It's said that man is the only animal that has awareness of his own mortality and the ability to contemplate it. Alan had already laid out much of his life story on his blog site, along with his photos, writings, musings and poetry. His daily observations of things which interested him attracted a huge following of internet users, many of whom joined in a lively on-line discussion of facts and opinions.
His ongoing web Chatauqua soon became a daily habit with me, joining probably a couple hundred other "lurkers" and, as he termed them, "rare readers." The subjects under discussion included current events, politics, geology, weather, volcanism, travel, weather, poetry, medicine, his own health, and later, after an "epiphany on the beach," his transition from agnosticism to Christianity.
The man's knowledge and energy amazed us, as he contined his daily postings and his final work--a retranslation of some of the book of Psalms-- right up to his final trip to the hospital. Alan's friends and rare readers have eulogized him far better--and in more ways--than I could. I never met the man in person, and if I had, quite possibly might not have gotten along with him. But somehow, through cyberspace, I think he has shown us a little glimpse of heaven.
"The unexamined life in not a life worth living," said Socrates.(ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ.) You examined yours well, Seablogger, and we are all the richer for it.