What does it mean to be alive? To be alive as a human being, as a bird or animal, as water, as a plant or a cloud?
It has been a hard winter. In the dark, cold days and nights of February I sometimes descended to an even darker place. These days the ducks in the water in the big park close to my house are lively, diving into the icy water and playing or fighting among themselves. The ice is getting darker, a sign that it will soon melt. Yesterday I took my first long walk for a long time.
My thoughts were full of the memory of a young woman I knew who simply dropped dead last Friday at the age of 44. Simone was the mother of three adolescents. Her husband tried to administer CPR to no avail. As he put it in the heartbreaking obituary that appeared today, “She died in my arms”. She was a bright spirit. My mother gave her some basic painting lessons so that a renowned teacher would accept her as a pupil. He did and she went on to become a successful artist who painted many scenes of the little town in New Brunswick where she lived.
She and her husband worked hard to renovate a ramshackle old building and to turn it into an inn. Markus, her husband is a chef and their business, the Europa, became justly well known.
As I walked in the sun on spring snow that is, at last, melting under strong sun, I puzzled over where Simone’s spirit, the essence of her cheerful and loving personality might be. What happens to the ducks passing under the bridge when they die? The plants know how to rise up again in Springtime. We have forgotten that gift.
All the teeming life of the universe is rising, busy making the next generation and passing away. I had a fancy that I could hear my mother setting up the easel and making tea as she welcomed Simone to yet another painting afternoon in another sphere, another realm.
But these are deep secrets. Even the one who seems to have a “ perfect” life and character carries with her some shadow, something unknown.Why should I be free to walk about when , yes, sometimes it is a lonely walk but Simone’s life is simply snuffed out?
Mysteries not yet to be explained… perhaps never.