Saturday, October 29, 2005

Death is...

From an “assignment” from “Writing as a Road to Self-Discovery”

A bitch… and not just metaphorically. It’s Kali devouring life. It’s the ultimate speed limit of life. Death is the ultimate focal lens of life, too.

And that’s a great metaphor. It’s like death is a zoom lens, with a wide range of f-stops. The long-distance future looks very clear at f/32 on a young 80-200 lens.

But, like the lens of the eye, that lens gets less supple as we age. It can’t focus in and out so far, so it loses its distance. The long-range future doesn’t have as much clarity, focus, or depth. It lacks depth, because we’re stopped down to 22, then 16, then 11.

However, it seems to acquire a better macro quality as we age. The close-ups of life’s literal and metaphorical flowers get sharper and more brilliant. Plus, the lens takes on more and more wide-angle capabilities. We see more around ourselves. We are able to take in more at one time.

Unfortunately, not all of us clean or take care of our lenses as we age. Some of them acquire intellectual glaucoma, a tunnel vision of the mind. Others mist up, or lose the ability to focus forward.

But without death, there would be no focal point… only an endless stretch to infinity.

Mañana would recur day after day. The boredom of the Christian heaven could be life here on earth. And, with no death ever, the overcrowding, the stifling lack of space of Vanarasi compounded, would be too much.

Death, a good and timely death, is a butler and a servant, as Dickenson well knew.

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