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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
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Friday, February 12, 2021

Love Among Mortals

Photo by Silke Schmidtchen

You think you have time.

-- From Buddha's Little Instruction Book by Jack Kornfield

Love Among Mortals

Facing Death is transformative.

Somewhere, in the back of our minds, we all know - in a general kind of way - that we are mortal. But then a moment comes when we look Death in the eye and know it for ourselves... for our Beloved... and that knowledge becomes both specific and immediate.

For me, such a moment marks the very beginning of our One Precious Life. 

As sailors in a wild and wooly place, Anke and I live with perhaps a closer view of Death than many. We often sail near the edge, and far from any hope of help should we fail dangerous.

This last autumn, we had a wild passage, where Death was grinning over our shoulders right along, breathing down our necks. It started with a small thing - a jammed block. So many deadly outcomes are the end of a series of small steps inching, then leaping toward disaster. We were able to manage our issues and all was, in the end, well.

But it was another reminder that - even in the mundane day to day - Death can come for us.

And now Plague walks all the lands of the world.

A time of pandemic binds us all in a moment of the awareness of our mortality. The last century has brought humanity a growing understanding of disease in its causes and cures. Yet we remain stubbornly mortal, and a tiny molecular machine - devoid of hope or malice - reminds us collectively of that fact.

For some, inevitable Death sucks all meaning from Life. For others - count me among them - Death is that dark background against which all life is luminous. It's proximity reminds us to live. NOW.

And what is the one thing worthwhile? That one thing to pursue with all the resource of our One Precious Life?

If you ask me, it's Love.

Power? Pffffft. Fame? Sic transit. Stuff? Can be useful but can also own us and weigh us down. Wealth? You know what it can't buy. 

We think we have time... let's assume we don't, and start living. Start loving.

Happy Valentines Day, all ye Young Lovers! 

(And that includes you, my fellow Elder Farts!)


  1. Followed closely by a six of red IPA and a rising tide.........

    1. True. But ever'thin' tastes better shared. 8)

  2. The (still current) event still is very much with us. My wife works with some who are "at risk" and so we perhaps pay too much attention to the thing. However, even without that, she sees death more often than most. The teaching is to not get too close but she has decided they need to be loved and so they have become her father, mother, aunt or uncle. It does hurt more when they die but it doesn't seem to have been any more stressful in the long run. Death comes to us all, love while there is time. It is ok to believe (as we do) that death is not the end as that helps stretch the length of love wider and longer (or hate if that is ones goal).

    1. Hi Len,

      Beautifully put.

      A book I highly recommend is "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande. Among other things, he points out that what those near death need, more than anything is human warmth and connection. Love, in a word.

      Your wife and those of her heart and mind are inspirations for the rest of us.

      You write that the loving approach hasn't been more stressful in the long run... I often wonder whether insulating ourselves from loving connection isn't at root of much of the world's stress. Whether loving connection - even in the face of death - is good for us as well as those we're ostensibly helping.

      But those are only the thoughts of a fella living far from the madding crowd. 8)

      Dave Z