It's been many years...decades, in fact, and somehow George Merritt popped into my head with his sometimes sardonic smile...again with me wondering if someone from the remote past is still alive. The distant past flutters with all those wonderful people that have made this journey so eventful...
George was exuberance personified. Everything was beautiful and amazing. Everything was waiting to be discovered. When I first met him I thought he was this brash, impudent young kid who had entered doctoral study, only to find that he was eleven years my senior. And yet, he seemed to personify youth. He manifest an electrifying presence, an energy that made everyone around him better.
He was a performer, and a conductor---a tenor, of course, but one who was rough at the edges. He came from the mountains of Vermont, a country boy who came to the big city...bright eyed and ready to make it big. At least that was his cover. Underneath he was brilliant, a genius of sorts who could achieve anything that he set his mind to.
He was constantly introducing me to new poets, to new writers, to new philosophers, to new performers, to new music... and everything he did was calculated to make me a better poet, a better composer, a better writer ...a better person. The world was full of mystery and discovery, and somehow George's vision of the world unfolding just for you was infectuous.
We shared many adventures and many secrets. In many ways we were each other's alter egos. As we worked on advancing ourselves through the doctoral program, we each contributed to the growth and achievements of each other and long after we had graduated and went on to other things we maintained the conspiracy of our mutual adventures.
George was one of the ultimate do-ers in my life. Much that is in my life is there because George did it. And yet, ultimately his ambitions drove a wedge between us and we lost touch, only briefly meeting in awkward moments where neither knew what to make of whatever remained between us.
So a day or two ago I ran across the briefest of references to Dr. George Merritt, and in a context that made me sense that he may have gone on to other destinies... if there ever was a case for perpetual energy of the universe evolving to ever grander schemes, it would be George forever doing the universe in his own inimitable modus operandi.