There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
I tend to be more aware of sunrises than sunsets. I get up before dawn and the world lights up — wakes up — as I type. There is a certain exhilarating yet peaceful energy in the cracking dawn that rejuvenates and gives momentum to the day.
But the sun always sets, too. As I get older I find my awareness of this growing and I’m paying more attention to the end of day.
Last night Gary and I went on a sunset cruise on Lake Champlain, where I took the photo at the top of this blog. I meant to get some more pictures of the setting sun, thinking I would take them when it was lower in the horizon and just beginning to hide behind the mountains.
But my phone wouldn’t cooperate, which of course is a euphemism for can only be attributable to human error. As I struggled to get the phone powered back on, security code entered, and stay on the proper screen, the sun dropped out of sight.
Dropped as in, well, dropped.
I had no idea the set part would happen so quickly. We were watching for a good several minutes as the sun leisurely drifted downward, giving an illusion of plenty of time. Then poof: no more sun.
This morning I conquered my usual introverted tendencies and attended a small neighborhood pancake breakfast. I talked with one of my neighbors, Nina Thompson, about her Wake Up to Dying Project as we ate pancakes and drank coffee outside.
Life is so precious and oh so fleeting, yet we spend so very little time — surprisingly little time — thinking about our own mortality. Her project aims to change that.
Oh, not change it to a thinking filled with dread and morbidity; quite the opposite. Drawing from her years of work as a hospice volunteer she is concerned about how people prepare for the end; or rather, don’t prepare.
Often people don’t even talk about it at all.
More broadly, there seems to be a disconnect between the reality of death coming towards us and how we live our lives. If one were truly aware of — that is, if one gave serious thought to — their eventual demise, the life they lead would surely reflect it.
In this sense, the project could just as easily be called Wake Up to Living.
The sun will set whether our camera is ready or not. Our loved ones will at some point die and our last words to them will be our last words to them: the good, the bad or the ugly. How important it is — deadly important, in fact — to make the most of each moment, taking a beautiful snapshot when we can.