Early today this old man was waiting for the light at the intersection of Beacon and Joy streets in Boston. (He has a cane in his right hand which you can’t see.) When the light changed in his favor he seemed not to notice it for quite a while, barely making it across before the light changed back again.
I tell you this because I think old people, a group I’m definitely a part of, are having a hard time with this lockdown. Death draws nears yet we have little choice but to stay still and wait for it.
Standing at the door of death isn’t pleasant. It’s filled with pain, regret and an uneasy feeling you’d rather not be there. Everyone on this small rock we humans call home will die. It’s a given…but, all things being equal I’d rather sit by the water and look at birds.
The saying “old age is not for sissies” struck me as being appropriate for this image. This gentleman was walking very slowly and deliberately down this empty corridor. He struck me as resigned to his condition and particularly brave about it.
I was on my way to get lunch today when I came across this guy sitting under an overpass asking for money. I stopped, gave him some, and had a nice chat. He was being treated at the nearby Massachusetts Hospital and had only nice thing to say about his doctors.
I gathered his cancer was very serious but his attitude was accepting of his condition. Looking at one’s death close up is hard. There is a Buddhist meditation theory that meditating on our death clarifies the mind and helps us to see things more clearly.
The gentle demeanor of this man was very powerful.
We were in Maine on Memorial Day and I went to the Rockport cemetery to take some photographs as a remembrance of the trip. It was foggy that morning and after a lot of attempts at pictures of headstones and trees in the fog, I settled on this one which hardly has any gravesites in it but is a rather haunting of reminder of the fate that awaits us all.
These were happy little spring flowers yesterday. They were peaking their heads up in the next block down the hill from us. Today with the wind chill, the temperature hovering just above zero, I’m afraid they’re no longer there.