To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.
Luckily I’ve lead a solitary existence for years so it’s never been much of an issue up here in the mountains. I’m in that over the hill club of risk for this dang Coronavirus, having diabetes and certain chronic ailments along with a nod to age 68. About the only people I see are my sister and her children from time to time, my own living far off in various cities. For me it’s the bi-monthly jaunt to the grocery store that is the only source of contact with the unknowns. The way I see it if it’s my time to part the earth so be it. As for fear who has time for it… I have too many things to occupy my time in reading, writing, and just working through this thing called existence. In many ways I’ve become Stoical in the last years accepting life on its terms not mine, realizing that come what may I as a singular creature will in the end die like all creatures. It’s not about death or fear, it’s about life and how much one can put into it with what little time one has. Maybe I’m still a Paterian at heart:
“One of the most beautiful passages of Rousseau is that in the sixth book of the Confessions, where he describes the awakening in him of the literary sense. An undefinable taint of death had clung always about him, and now in early manhood he believed himself smitten by mortal disease. He asked himself how he might make as much as possible of the interval that remained; and he was not biassed by anything in his previous life when he decided that it must be by intellectual excitement, which he found just then in the clear, fresh writings of Voltaire. Well! we are all condamns, as Victor Hugo says: we are all under sentence of death but with a sort of indefinite reprieve--les hommes sont tous condamns mort avec des sursis indfinis: we have an interval, and then our place knows us no more. Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, the wisest, at least among “the children of this world,” in art and song. For our one chance lies in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into the given time. Great passions may give us this quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, the various forms of enthusiastic activity, disinterested or otherwise, which come naturally to many of us. Only be sure it is passion–that it does yield you this fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness. Of such wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for its own sake, has most. For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake.”1
- Walter Horatio Pater. The Renaissance: Studies In Art And Poetry