If I should die before I wake (a svithe)



It seems like we've been having earthquakes every week--one's big enough to feel--one's big enough to make you panic and realize you really haven't come up with a plan re: What-to-Do-When-the-House-Starts-Falling-Down-Around-You-as-You-Watch-The-Office, and, ergo, now you will die.

Fortunately, none of them have knocked the house down yet--in fact, Thursday's, a 4.2, was the biggest yet and you really had to concentrate to tell that the chandalier was wiggling.

Of course, when we decided to move to the East Bay, I knew that decision would prove fatal. The Big One, the much-fretted-about Hayward Quake, is due to go off any day now and, in so doing, will wipe out UC Berkeley, Mervyn's California HQ, and our house. Oakland and Hyward and San Lorenzo and Berkeley and Richmond will make New Orleans look merely dusty and no one will have been warned to evacuate by colorful Doppler imaging. Food will be scarce, riots will break out, rotting corpses will stink the air, packs of dogs will hunt down the survivors . . . .

In short, we're all going to die.


Not that death, in general, should be a big surprise. Such (death) is life. It's an important part of the definition.

You're going to die.

That's not a threat.

That's a promise.

It's just what it means to be alive.

This begs two questions:
    --What shall we do with the time that we have? and

    --What then?
Those are both perfect svithe material. Those are the questions religions are built on, battles are waged on, books are written on, nights are lost to, and dinners pushed aside for.

What then life?

Why for death?

And in the end--?

I am one man. Tallish. Slight of figure. Overgrown hair. Moderately ambitious. Possessor of one life of uncertain length. There is nothing outlandishly special about me as compared to you. We are the same:a fragile biology, a limited span of time, a limited number of tomorrows.

We make our own cocktails of hope and fear, planning and delaying, doing and stalling. Our lives are our own. To do with what we will. Or not. As we will.

We are the same. We choose our own answers, day by day, till the earthquake, and we are through.

And then?

Well, I have some opinions. But for now, let's focus on choosing to live.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe

No comments: