“His mind had no horizons. He was interested in everything.” ~ John Steinbeck, About Ed Ricketts

In response to my expressed hope of remaining healthy for years to come, a friend remarked, “And relevant!” He’s about my age, and we share both desires. Conversation followed among a group of longtime friends whose company we particularly enjoy, not only for the joie de vivre that accompanies, but also the far-ranging topics, by turns dead-serious and lighthearted, sometimes simultaneously and always at length.

I was immediately transported in mind to another of John Steinbeck’s eloquent descriptions of his good friend, Ed Ricketts, marine biologist. He put it like this:

“Although his creativeness lay in receiving, that does not mean that he kept things as property. When you had something from him, it was not something that was his that he tore away from himself. When you had a thought from him or a piece of music or twenty dollars or a steak dinner, it was not his – it was yours already, and his was only the head and hand that steadied it in position toward you. For this reason no one was ever cut off from him. Association with him was deep participation with him, never competition. hdbd-1

“I wish we could all be so. If we could learn even a little to like ourselves, maybe our cruelties and angers might melt away. Maybe we would not have to hurt one another just to keep our ego-chins above water.

“There it is. That’s all I can set down about Ed Ricketts. …”

Marine biologist Ed Flanders Robb Ricketts the man, as known by John Steinbeck. My sense is that “relevant” applied to Ricketts’ life.

From About Ed Ricketts by John Steinbeck, apparently published in the early 1950s as a bio-preface to The Log from the Sea of Cortez.

Ricketts holding a Humboldt Squid

   See also http://www.carmelmagazine.com/archive/13wi/ricketts.shtml

Carpe diem. Vita brevis!

© January 19, 2017, by Michael E. Stubblefield. All rights to my original work reserved.


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