I took this photo on the Charles Bridge in Prague. When I looked at it later I noticed immediately the guy’s skull T-shirt, and how weirdly aligned it is with my wife’s smile. It’s a very casual momento mori, and fits into a theme of the last few weeks, wherein:
- Harper’s, Lapham’s Quarterly, the NYRB, and Shambhala Sun all featured articles about death or cemeteries.
- I toured several crypts and cemeteries in Prague.
- My in-laws told me they want to move back home and die in the Philippines, and that they need to get ready soon because they don’t have much time.
- My wife’s uncle in Canada ended up in a coma following cardiac arrest and cancer.
- A friend’s father died suddenly and was found in bed.
- The shootings in Aurora, and some shootings in our neighborhood, have been in the news.
None of this really frightens me. I’m at an age where I’m pretty cool with death. That’s not to say I’m ready, but I’ve lived a full, rich life, even if I never did follow my bliss, and i don’t really fear dying. But this stretch of grimness has me checking myself: are you living life, or waiting for it to happen?
Time to re-read some of those Henry James stories, like “The Beast in the Jungle.”