Did you ever wonder how you were going to die? I bet you did. As far back in my memory as I can go, I have visited my place of death. I know that I will be alone. I know that I will have long hair. I will be fearless. As much as we may want to deny it, we are all going to walk off of that same cliff.
It is now the case that whatever I experience, whatever I see, whatever I hear, I imagine that this is the last time I will be doing it, in this life.
I could never imagine the cause of my own death. I never thought it would be fire, drowning, plane crash, car wreck, or known disease. I gave some thought to murder, but it never truly sank in.
I have realized that in nature, there are two motivations that take up almost all concerns and activities. One being food, the other being reproduction. One creature must cease to exist in order for another to thrive. It is the answer to the great question, “why are we here?” It is to eat and to reproduce. Thought, meditation, music, spiritual communion, love, are secondary and ultimately the servants of the primary two.
The mother Wildebeest fights ferociously to save her calf against the hyenas, until overwhelmed and exhausted, she watches helplessly, the devouring of her offspring, and then turns and walks away.
When the Orca spots a baby sea lion on the surface of the water, it sees only dinner, as we might see a take out meal from a drive through restaurant. There is no guilt, no mercy, in nature. Those are supernatural burdens with designs on those who harbor evil intent and destructive, deceitful personalities.
Tonight we are faced with anxiety and calamity. We do not know its source or its destination. It is moving through the population like the unnatural wildfires that incinerate all things in their wake.
It is both a challenge and a measure of our species. A measure of our intelligence. That gift which provides us the capacity to affect realities far from our personal realm of influence. That gift which encourages us to practice charity and compassion. Yet it is a challenge not to freefall into the lower depths of our imaginations where horror and violence are the norm.
Perhaps I could not identify the cause of my own death because it did not yet exist. Perhaps now it does. Time will answer that question.
All things come to a certain end. The acknowledgement of that undeniable truth is one of the uniquely human characteristics. The more important question to ask now is whether or not we have caught sight of the exinction of another great species. Our own.