"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Dying with Strangers
trag-e-dy Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tragedie, from Middle French, from Latin tragoedia, from Greek tragOidia, from tragos goat (akin to Greek trOgein to gnaw) + aeidein to sing -- more at TROGLODYTE, ODE
1 a : a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man b : a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror c : the literary genre of tragic dramas
2 a : a disastrous event : CALAMITY b : MISFORTUNE
3 : the serious car accident down the road right now
It's raining out, and I think a man may be dying just down the road.
The VP of the company saw the accident on his way in, and then went back in a few minutes to make sure it was not one of our employees. It wasn't. The pickup truck was wrapped around a tree like a bobby pin from what he said, the driver trapped inside and covered by the police with a tarp.
Even though it had been a while since the accident happened, there were no emergency people other than the police at the scene.
That's a bad thing.
Someone's life changed today, as quick as a finger snap. It may very well have ended that quick. Some family somewhere will never be the same, I expect.
I think that a good many of us who do not die of an extended illness die in the company of strangers. These strangers may be the most qualified to rescue us, the first to respond to a 911 call, or maybe even just the first to stop their car and find us in the ditch or around a tree.
But those last moments, those last moments, we may see them come and go far too quickly.
Things will be left unsaid that we always meant to say, and never did.
Things undone that we always meant to do, and never said.
People that we were always meant to be, and never were.
Just like that (*SNAP!*) over and done.
I do not know if the fellow in that truck will make it or not. I hope he does. I hope that tarp was to keep him out of the rain, and not to afford him a sort of postmortem dignity. And if this is the ultimate tragedy for him, I hope he has done and said everything he wanted to before getting his exit visa.
So, have I personally done and said everything yet? No. There's more yet to do, to say, to feel, to become.
Same with you, you know.
Don't miss the train.
It might leave any minute.
The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
William James (1842 - 1910)