Beltane Waning Flower Moon
Yesterday death came to call. Dizziness and nausea took over my body while my mind raced back to October, 1964, trying to inhabit, again, the mind of my mother as the stroke hit her, trying to imagine the transition from vitality to powerlessness, wondering what thoughts came to her as she fell to the floor in the basement of the United Methodist Church. Pushing this thought back, far from me, get thee behind me death, I wondered if she had done the same, imagined that this was like all the other times, a bit more severe than most perhaps, but surely something that would lift. It didn’t. She died a week later.
Death had come to call on me as a reminder of the future in the guise of a dark moment of the past. All that work on Latin, I thought. Then, just as quickly, would you have done something else? No. The answer is no. At that moment a peace settled over me, if this was my time, so be it. It’s just fine. If not, I’ll get downstairs and study my i-stem nouns and ablatives.
Then, today, in a lecture, Nietzsche posed a hypothetical: What if a demon came to you and said, “You will live and relive your life. All of it. The pains and the sorrows, the joys and accomplishments, all of it, even this visit from me. And you will relive it not only once, but over and over.” What is your response? If you can say, Thank you, oh divine one, then you have lived an authentic life and have come to rest with who you are. Nietzsche called this the myth of eternal recurrence.
I find I’m on the Thank you side of the demon question. Yes, I’d like another helping please.
Much of my attitude toward life seems to have its roots in Nietzschean thought. Strange that I’m just now discovering this.