Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Ourselves And All Eternity

Trooper York shows a different side over on his blog.

I suppose it's a cliché that we become increasingly aware of our mortality as we age. I remember lying in bed at the age of five and feeling my mortality acutely, a feeling that used to visit me periodically, and now sits beside me like a municipal road repair crew with all the time in the world.

And I remember having my car spin out on the 101 at 50 mph--I remembered to turn into the skid--and thinking, "So, this is it. This is how I die." An entirely different experience of mortality, akin to being tossed about by strong waves at the beach: You already made the choice that set you on that path and now it's out of your hands.

And when I feel a mysterious pain, or I notice some loss of vision or agility, the Man With The Scythe is there, looking at his watch. But again, that's a different experience. Troop talks about that a bit.

Another experience of mortality comes from thinking about my children. I don't really think of death as being able to hurt me directly, as odd as that may sound. Death pretty much ends those concerns. But my death would harm my family, which creates an entirely different concern.

Ah, but the sort of mortality Troop mostly talks about is that of the missing person. They don't even need to be dead, just gone from your life. Change itself is a reminder of a the sort of mortality that is inescapable.

You'll never be that person again. You'll never know those people you knew. The family that raised you is long gone, and you're filling that role with a new generation.

I'm sure that's behind the static concept of Heaven that a lot of people have. They remember a moment from childhood, with their mom or their grandmother, or some other person filling a role relative to themselves, and they remember a particular feeling that they identify as being perfect. (Richard Matheson actually manages to create a concept of Heaven in What Dreams May Come that allows both for change and a Heaven where you meet up with your dog.)

On the other hand, maybe this is why you be wary of late night walks in the cold autumn air while listening to classic rock radio stations.


  1. Thanks for the plug. It was just what I was thinking about.

  2. I might be doing a series on songs that I hear on the radio that mean something to me.

    I wonder if kids growing up are going to feel the same about Kanye West or 50 cents stuff. I guess they will, but what do I know.

  3. I don't know about this generation, but the music of my youth mostly annoys me.


  4. Oh, yeah me too. I am a standards kind of guy. But I do like old school soul. The stuff I used to listen to when we were playing ball in the school yard. Al Green, Bill Withers, The Stylistics, The O'Jays and Chi-lites. That was smooth dude, way smooth.


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