Survival Concerns

I started this day reading Oliver Sack’s moving piece about his terminal cancer diagnosis.

This part:

“Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.”

While still reflecting deeply on this, I gulped the last of my coffee and headed out to the gym in 9 degree weather to workout with my personal trainer, who said he woke up imagining hearing people eulogize him. He is thirty-something. Death, for him, is still an interesting daydream.

After an intense session of squats and pull-ups and other exercises, I dashed to the studio for a session with my private client who is doubling-down on his yoga this month to get in shape for a golf trip to the south in 2 weeks.

While he was doing hamstring stretches with a strap, I read him Sack’s piece. This led to us sitting on the wood floor, under the skylight in the yoga room, talking about death, what it means to live, and what it means to be happy.

There was no yoga today.

Afterwards, I stopped at the bank’s drive-thru window,  made a deposit, and then headed home to make a crock-pot lasagna, and walk Boomer in the painful cold.

When it is as cold as it has been for as long as it has been and there is no relief in the scrollable future on my weather app, I start to feel afraid. Not for me, but for animals and birds, and all things that live outside. As I was refilling the bird feeders, I noticed little paw prints under the porch.

Last spring we found a dead cat curled under our dryer vent.

Oliver Sack’s generation is going over the cliff. To be followed by the next generation and then mine, and then the next and the next and eventually, even my handsome personal trainer’s.

We are all going over the cliff sometime. So now is the time, as Sack’s says, to live with audacity, clarity and plain speaking.

Tonight, it is predicted to be 38 degrees below zero with the wind chills. This is the season of survival concerns. Let us all find warmth wherever we can and remember that there will be spring..

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