No doubt, Irwin’s death is a tragedy. Yet it is easy to see that in his work he courted death constantly. Some might even say in doing what he did, Steve Irwin must’ve had some sort of underlying death wish to fulfill. There are apt to be others that think by dying young Irwin got exactly what he deserved. After all, he chose to wrestle with crocodiles and swim with deadly ocean creatures. He should’ve had some consideration for his wife and young children and like the rest of us, taken a safe job behind a desk in an office somewhere. In today’s modern world, we’re taught to believe that our lives are some how much better off because we don’t wrestle creatures in the wild the way Irwin did. I guess Steve would want us to take a look at that belief and see if it measures up as an honest assessment.

Imagine what the world would be like if we were all out there living our bliss, doing what made us happy and sharing that joy with not just our family and friends, but the entire world—the way Steve Irwin did. We can only hope a phoenix will rise from the ash of this misfortune; that others will be inspired by Steve to leave the safe haven of their desks, vehicles, and homes to pursue their wildest dreams.

Irwin’s death begs us to pause for a moment and note the fleeting nature of life. In my doing so I came to an interesting conclusion: values have shifted over the years until only a few remain sanctioned by our contemporary society. For example, it is heroic in our culture to die young if you are a soldier fighting for freedom and democracy. The death of such a young man brings kudos and immediate acceptance among the general populace. In this case it’s patriotic to leave behind a wife and young children.

Irwin died while attempting to continue what he’d done for years—making people happy by interacting with the natural world in a way that held most of us spellbound. Still people will say that he was stupid and reckless for trekking off into the deepest wilderness and taking us along for a gander. In my estimation, if our values weren’t so constricted, we would see beyond a doubt Irwin died for his ideals; highly laudable one’s that did not require the killing and maiming of anyone or anything. He died introducing the rest of us to the endangered species of our planet. He presented each of them as if they were his friends, hands on and not hiding behind a camera or off in the bush.

At any rate, I understand the heads of the Australian government wanting to give Irwin the burial of a statesman. Like a soldier from any country, he lived and died upholding the ideal that warm, familial relations can still be maintained between humans and other earthly creatures. Moreover, through his work over the years, Irwin became more than the consummate outdoors man, he was sensational as an ambassador of joy and wonder. He showed the rest of the adult world how to maintain the innocent anticipation of childhood, even when faced with the dangers inherent in the rawest of nature. He did it by delving into the few hidden areas of wildness that are left on earth and becoming a bit wild himself. And we loved him for it. As huge numbers of people now contemplate his death, I hope they will remember him as a modern emissary of enchantment: Steve Irwin, the man who openly shared his fun and never harmed a flea.