Thursday, June 25, 2009
Another month rolls by and I had, of course, intended to write about a couple of luminary figures who passed away fairly recently. Nonetheless, my distractions continued and last week there was a bombshell. I was informed that my friend Micky - who I have known since 1980 - passed away in Brisbane, after a brief - but difficult - battle with cancer.
I am not going to talk details of his illness here. I only wish to say that Micky was one of the very best (isn't it always the best ones?) - probably the brightest person I have ever met - brilliantly smart, well-read, kind, caring and always low-maintenance. He made do with very little and - most impressively - had no concern at all for material things. I spent time with him during a difficult part of my own life - staying with him in northern New South Wales, where he lived simply in the bush for a while. He sincerely cared about Planet Earth and was an amazing gardener who could make anything grow. He put into practice what most people just mouth off about and was the most environmentally-responsible person I have ever met, impressing me greatly with his knowledge of bush craft. His mind was always inquiring - almost child-like. A true Peter Pan - always enthused about what was going on!
Around the time I met him, someone said that he was so smart you could ask him to solve a mathematical puzzle and he would solve it in seconds, without writing anything down. I tried it once - asking him something like: "What's 8,439 divided by 497" and he gave me a correct answer within a couple of seconds.
When I was staying in the bush with him, we had a conversation about death and about people's obsession with leaving legacies - being remembered for things. He told me he aspired to leaving nothing and felt that was the most responsible thing to do - to leave no trace.
This was the sort of man Micky Barry was.
He will be buried tomorrow on his brother's property, around where he used to live - in the bush - as he would've wanted. He will be sadly missed by many people.