The way Kimball looks at Buckley’s sybarite life is that WFB was engaging in the Jewish/Christian ethic that life is good as found in Genesis. He loved enjoyment, including the use of the latest gadget, a far cry from the Stoic life of convert Russell Kirk:
Our secular age is unfriendly to Catholics, to religion generally, but the irony is that secularists are often less jubilantly worldly than their Jewish and Christian compatriots. “God made the world and saw that it was good.” That bulletin from Genesis might have been the motto of his life.Kimball also muses on time, what it is and its perceived speed:
My point is that Buckley was an affirmative, not an apophatic, character.
[Poem inscribed on the pendulum of a clock in a church in England]:
When as a child I laughed and wept
When as a youth I dreamed and talked
When I became a full-grown man
And later as I older grew
Soon shall I find when traveling on
Will Christ have saved my soul by then?
I sent that poem to Bill and he acknowledged the poignancy of the sentiments expressed. During the last year or so of his life, I suspect Bill’s quotidian attitude towards time took on a darker hue. But eschatologically, I like to think, it remained gloriously affirmative.Kimball ends with a visit to Buckley's grave:
But to focus exclusively on the world-consuming quality of time is to make the mistake Macbeth made in his famous tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow speech. Raphael presented another, more salubrious, more joyful side of time’s career. For time is not only the grave of every hope, it is also the condition of every success. That grain should ripen or love blossom is a gift of time. It is only a version of nihilism that discounts time, the source of every worldly benefaction, for the sake of time the ultimate repository of every merely worldly aim.
How appropriate Buckley now reposes in this this modest, unworldly, self-effacing glen.