Sunday, November 15, 2009

Road Kill

Carnage littered my run this morning, mostly squirrels, with a few skunks and opossums. Something about this time of year brings animals to the roadways, maybe the warm asphalt.

One of the squirrels had died in a cozy, prayerful-like curl, as if he had died happy. The mouths of the others were opened into final screams.

Death by Chocolate
(dedicated to the Arrowhead Trio)

He hovers by the door,
reluctant to enter,
savoring every note,
settles into an armchair,
nodding, legs askew.
He need not wait any longer
for heaven; the note
on his lap says “thank you.”

Three wrinkled men
play unfamiliar masterworks
to almost empty halls,
dreaming that on a distant day
they will join him on stage
midst dissonant harmony.
Instead of screaming ambulances,
listeners will gently applaud.

The chance of dying during a concert or tennis match is mighty slim, as is, I suppose, the risk of dying during a scream. We'd rather die happy, unless perhaps it happens during an act of heroism, such as pushing a child to safety from a speeding car.

Something we can do for ourselves, although it may seem selfish and self-centered, is to consider redesigning the way we live. If we want to die happy, we should try to live happy. If we want to die heroically, we should try to live heroically.

This reminds me of a question facilitators of planning workshops sometimes ask, "If you knew you only had 6 months to live, would you be doing what you're doing?" If the answer is no, then "why not?"

I once knew a woman who cleaned her house everyday. She complained about being "too busy." I don't remember if she complained because of all the other things she had to do, or because her house was dirty.

Virginia chose to answer the question "yes." I have a feeling a "yes" answer is easier for folks who feel financially independent than for people who struggle to make ends meet, but none of us wants to be roadkill.

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