We humans are both miracles and catastrophes. We must, he demanded, acknowledge both death and joy, horror and awe. Itis an astonishment to be alive, and life calls on you to be astonished; but lifelong astonishment will take iron-willeddiscipline.
Wake, his writing tells us, over and over. Weep for this world and gasp for it. Wake, and pay attention to our mortality, to theprecise ways in which beauty cuts through us. Pay attention to the softness of skin and the majesty of hands and feet.Attention — real, sustained, unflinching attention — is what this life, with its disasters and delights, demands of you.
And if a skeleton in the hall helps, well then: Bring on the skeletons.