That's the last thing Hans wrote to me. "Your garden is a piece of paradise." The way he spoke, his phrasing, and the kindness and love that came through with every word was exquisite. Who talks like this? His joy and care in conversation was one of life's constants - and always on display to a sometimes bleary-eyed nephew, no matter how early in the morning - coffee made or not - over FaceTime video - so we could see each other. He just never stopped being gracious. And that's something that I will forever miss about my uncle, Hans-Georg Metsch.
On January 30, 2023 Hans took up residence in the stars for a ride to end all rides through the galaxy and beyond - no VW van required. That seems an appropriate way to put it. After all, he most certainly loved to hitchhike with Douglas Adams. But Hans wasn't just a traveler. He was a husband, a brother and a son. He was also an uncle and a friend, a mentor and a guide, professional and prankster, and a lover of irony, music and all the mysteries of the universe. He was so many things.
If I were asked to share just one out of the many things that I learned from him, it would have to be that words, thoughts, sincerity, love, and passion matter. These things are paramount.
Around the turn of the century, he discovered a way to convey each of those things to friends and family, near and far, or to total strangers on their own journeys through interstellar cyberspace. This website is just one remnant of that, an artifact that will remain here in its present form (with all earlier forms available on the Wayback Machine, which, upon discovery, received Hans' "totally cool" stamp of approval and a phonecall to spread the word almost immediately).
He loved every second of crafting, curating, and coding Psyon. Sometimes it took an immense amount of time to complete its pages - not because he found them difficult to code but because of the words he wanted to enshrine here - because of his sincerity, love, and passion for precision in speech, thought, and prose. This was important work. In fact, some of its pages never saw the light of day, because the right words just weren't there yet or they didn't feel quite ready for prime-time.
It's been a pleasure bringing the code to date, helping with some of the more challenging bits, discovering some unfinished thoughts, and just being with Hans in spirit, like being back in the small corner room in the basement of his old house, sitting next to him while he tinkered and typed, sharing with me a new style idea or thought about the creation of his own paradise - his Garten, which to me was the real "piece of paradise".
To me, he was a genius. The way he was able to switch gears while he worked was dizzying and so delightful - from coding to cajun music and his beloved concertina, How it Works to the Hitchhiker's Guide and then, in a flash, he would swoop right back to Hesse or HTML and somehow create the idea that it all fit together perfectly. He. Was. Brilliant.
But I digress...
So this is how Psyon will stay - just as Hans left it - with an ever-so-slight updating of code here and there for validation purposes. I know he'd like that.
W3C says they're all green, Hans - no errors or warnings. Ok, a couple workarounds here and there but you know how it goes. Positive Flowchart Result. Right. Carry on.
I didn't get a chance to talk to him before he passed. But if I had, I definitely would have thanked him. I would have thanked him for everything he always was to me, which was so much more than an uncle. He was a brother, a friend, a mentor and a sponsor, a teacher, fellow traveler, and a role model, from whom I learned so very much about life, the universe, and everything (as well as the importance of the number 42). I also would have thanked him for every second that I was so fortunate to have spent with him - from our first Meeting together in a small town in Northeast Ohio to our times exploring the smallest demes and walking trails in southwestern Germany... and yes - every single FaceTime video call several years later, no matter how early - coffee made or not.
I miss him.
And I know he'll be missed by many more. My hope is that the continuance of his website - and more importantly his words - will bring smiles to the faces and hearts of everyone, who comes here to spend a little time with their memories of him. I know he would enjoy the visit, too.
So long, Hans... for now.