With every passing day, death is becoming more present to me – not a necessarily a bad thing; for what better way to appreciate the present moment than to realize just how fleeting life is. Furthermore, I have heard that once I am gone the world of humans will continue quite unaffected by my passing – this is a rather irritating thought.
These thoughts have led me to the realization that the great challenge of living is to embrace all of life- not simply the pleasant, the joyful or the ecstatic bits, but all of it. Ultimately, this means to embrace our inescapably transient and mortal nature. This means to shed all the various veils of myth and delusion that we so skillfully adorn ourselves with. An appreciation of the tumultuous rhapsody of living can be found even in the midst of pain and darkness and sorrow. It is, in my judgment, a profound acquiescence to the nature of things. We are not meant to be forever. All living creatures upon this bit of rock orbiting its very forgiving star caste their shadows only briefly – it is a transient yet wondrous dance, ephemeral yet enticing.
Without this acceptance, we are sleep walkers dulled into a kind of mesmerizing complacency taught to see only that which will not disturb a convenient representation of reality rather than reality itself. How can life be lived without the ever-present idea of our own inevitable termination? Truthfully, we live only in the moment – not knowing what the next moment may bring.
Since, I seem to be in a wholly philosophical frame of mind, I would like to allude again to that great lunar that engulfs us periodically in its pale light. I may have alluded to its effect upon me as a child even in the cold hard streets of the Bronx. I believe an explanation for the affinity I have with this natural satellite is that it reminds me of my place in the cosmos. It affirms my connection to the earth and with the backdrop of stars places me once again in this vast and teaming universe.
So minuscule and yet blessed with this extraordinary organic brain that yearns to understand that which is seemingly unfathomable. A brain that seeks knowledge; that spawns ideas as adeptly as cell divide; that can imagine impossible things and conceive new realities; that can separate self from other; that can love; that can feel and dream.
This is my place; this is my time. It is all quite wondrous. Someday I will naturally take my leave of it and join the joy molecular leaving behind bits of my inheritance encased in DNA ferried about by my descendants wherever they may be. My fondest hope is that when that time comes I might take my leave with grace and appreciation for the opportunity to experience this life and to have been among the living.