I walked on the windy beach this morning with friends and our dogs, and we remembered Art Jess. The longtime community leader died Saturday at his home here. He had been declining, but it was unexpected, his wife Leanne said. He was 83. I do think "leader" is more than safe to say when describing Art, because he was such a positive presence-- on boards, at public meetings, and volunteering everywhere it seems, but also in his daily life. I appreciated his comments as much at a hard funeral this winter as I did while we were putting on our boots after a swim at the pool. This morning, one of my friends said he always made her feel important, that she was somebody of value, just by the way he paid attention to her whenever they met, in both official and especially all those unofficial ways we interact every day. Art did not seem to have any superficial relationships with people. He engaged with whomever he was with, at that moment. I have been thinking a lot about this since he died - as everyone it seems is very busy. Myself included. In a hurry, no time, overworked and underpaid with deadlines looming, and my God, what is it with this wind and cold? The sun is great, but will spring ever warm up? You know the drill. We are all a little edgy. Winter is ending and the stuff we had planned to do hasn't been done and there's so much to do this summer I'm tired already. So I'm taking a cue from Art. I may rush to a meeting, because I have a million chores and jobs to complete before and after it, but fretting about that while I'm there will only make it much, much worse. The best thing I can do is to try to be more like Art and less like me. Who knows, if everyone attempts this at least, maybe tonight's Borough Assembly meeting in the Chilkat Center will go a lot better than the last one. ( I mean, it lasted an emotional 8 hours-- plus.) The service for Art is Saturday at 2 in the ANB Hall, with a potluck following.