Gut Check

Winter                                                                    New Moon of the Cold Month

Last Monday night I ate dinner with my friends, six of them, at a restaurant, the Bukhara, which carries on the Mughal influenced culinary tradition of Northern India.  On the way home I got a gut check on my world view.  There was a light snow, the temperature hung at zero and the lights of other cars and trucks reflected off melted water on the highway as I headed toward Coon Rapids.

Near the intersection of 494 and Rockford Road some part of me, a deep part, reached up and said, your friend’s wife may die.  That part went on, speaking in images and feelings as the deepest parts of us do.  The reflected highway, a skidding truck, my death.  What then, Charlie, it asked?  What then?  Another aspect of my Self, perhaps even the same part asking the question, raised up an image from an old movie about Rome, The Fall of The Roman Empire.  Why?  What?  Oh.  Alec Guiness.  Marcus Aurelius.  A principled man, a Caesar, a Stoic.  The author of the Meditations.

How did this relate?  The epitaph.  Reported as the most popular of ancient Rome:  I was not.  I was.  I am not.  I don’t care.  Stoicism and a principled approach to this life.  Cast aside the final, eternal question.  Unanswerable.  Unknown.  Most likely unknowable.  Still act.  Still live.  Still care.

The windshield washers snicked, dirty water thrown up by vehicles in front of me cleared and I was back on the highway, headed toward 694.  And I knew.  Yes.  The deepest part of me knew, too.  Yes.  This life.  For all I’ve got.  This one.

This entry was posted in Aging, Commentary on Religion, Faith and Spirituality, Humanities, Myth and Story, Weather +Climate, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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