Princess Leia. George Micheal. Prince. The Greatest. David Bowie. John Glenn. Nancy Reagan. Arnold Palmer. Alan Thicke. Florence Henderson. Garry Shandling. Gene Wilder. Harper Lee. Patty Duke. Kenny Baker. Leonard Cohen. Merle Haggard. Glenn Frey. Pat Summitt. Craig Sager. Gwen Ifill. Alan Rickman.
Seems like a lot this year, doesn’t it? I know there are more than that, I just found a list online and copied down the ones I felt any connection to.
I typically take these things in stride. A celebrity death is a pause-for-a-moment-and-move-on-with-my-life event. I’ll pause for a moment and reflect. I might feel mournful about the loss of a talent. Sometimes I’ll even post something on Instagram.
But not usually.
Certainly not a blog post.
But there’s a first time I guess, and this is it. And it’s for someone who didn’t even make “the list.”
Richard Adams died on Christmas Eve. He was 96. He wrote Watership Down.
I love that book.
Is love right?
Watership Down is important to me. It was an especially impressionable period for me when I read it for the first time in high school. I was 15 or 16. I had always been a reader, but reading Watership Down taught me books do more than entertain.
Books stir emotion.
Books teach feeling.
Books create empathy.
Richard Adams gave me this treasure of knowledge. I’m a better man today because I read Watership Down as a youth. I’ve re-read it many times since, and each time the story gets better.
All that in a book about talking rabbits.
Guess what else? He didn’t write Watership Down–his first novel–until he was 52.
There’s still hope for me.
Thank you for Watership Down, Richard Adams!