Learning late, at least

I was sorry to hear about the actor Chadwick Boseman’s death. Especially as all of these incredible tributes to his life and work poured in over the weekend, I was sorry to hear that I’d never really heard of Chadwick Boseman.

I’ll explain. I’d seen Boseman in his first breakout role, as Jackie Robinson in “42” when that movie came out in 2013. He was very compelling as Robinson, a difficult role about a monumental man. So I’m sure I was aware of his name at that time.

But days move on, we have our lives and pursuits, we are of certain generations and we (well, some of us, probably to our loss) pay zero attention to the Marvel movie franchise, which of course is where Boseman made his greatest impact in “Black Panther.”

Now after learning the kind of intense and gentle soul Boseman was, of his talent and humanity, hearing of the incredible warrior within that allowed him to battle colon cancer off the grid for years while still contributing major, impactful work and deeds, well, I feel as though I dully napped through a giant walking in my midst.

Boseman, only 43 at his death, seems more than an African American and movie hero, but a cultural — even societal — rock in a teetering country and world so desperate for stability, consistency, love.

I want to continue to learn about what I missed out on Boseman while he lived. I want to find and watch his movies, appreciate his talent, and read more about why and how he influenced lives.

I want to be more aware as a person, more awake, more grateful for the depth of passion and genius around me.

I’m sorry to hear of Chadwick Boseman’s death. I’m hopeful his footprints — much like his characters Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall — will lead us all to more dignified days.