My very favorite professor is starting a new chapter at another university. To him I say this:
We will miss you, collegue, mentor, friend, fellow soul who dwells in the life of the mind. Happy trails. Visit often. There are not enough thank-yous for the inspiration, guidance, and beauty you have shared. Here's to the way of the world: flux, impermanence, insecurity, and change!
Hear the man sign off in his own words:
I wanted to add something of a peaceful vantage point on this event and all others in life. I found a few very appropriate, inspiring and yet sobering passages from Alan W. Watts' book The Wisdom of Insecurity:
On the subject of the beauty of poetry:
“There is more in this beauty than the succession of melodious images, and the theme of dissolution does not simply borrow its splendor from the things dissolved. The truth is rather that the images, though beautiful in themselves, come to life in the act of vanishing. The poet takes away their static solidity, and turns a beauty which would otherwise be only statuesque and architectural into music, which, no sooner than it is sounded, dies away. The towers, palaces, and temples become vibrant, and break from the excess of life within them. To be passing is to live; to remain and continue is to die. ‘Unless a grain of corn fall into the ground and die, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.’
For the poets have seen the truth that life, change, movement, and insecurity are so many names for the same thing. Here, if anywhere, truth is beauty, for movement and rhythm are of the essence of all things lovable. In sculpture, architecture, and painting the finished form stands still, but even so the eye finds pleasure in the form only when it contains a certain lack of symmetry, when, frozen in stone as it may be, it looks as if it were in the midst of motion.”