Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thinking about death

Death has been on my mind lately...and always, actually. Tomorrow, I'll share some of my thoughts on death with you …but for today, I leave you with a pensamiento by a favorite author of mine, who published her first novel in 1978, "Stones for Ibarra" when she was 68 years old.

Yesterday was my eighty-fifth birthday, and my son, who has had lung and brain cancer for two years, gave me a toy stuffed tiger as a reminder to write, without further delay, a short account of my long life…
…It was only four years ago that I realized I was making my way through the thickets of life together with a scarcely visible, four-footed companion, who matched his steps to mine.
I first learned of the tiger in the examining room of my glaucoma doctor.
Sitting in a black revolving chair, my chin in a rest, my forehead against a strap, and facing an intense light about to be focused on my inner eye, while the doctor at his illuminated glass counter made entries on my record, I turned pessimistic.
“Let us hope,” I said, “that I don’t lose more sight in my right eye,” and went on, “since I have only peripheral vision in my left.”
Without turning from my folder, the doctor said, “Don’t belittle peripheral vision. That’s how we see the tiger in the grass.”
Then he added, “It’s also how the tiger sees us.”
In this way, at the eye clinic, almost at the end of my life, I met and recognized the tiger that was mine and had been from the start.

-- "The Tiger in the Grass" by Harriet Doerr

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