Walking with Death

Walking with Death

Death was my companion on this walk.

I remember a walk I went on during one of the Covid lockdowns. I was alone, it was a greyish spring morning.

I was not in a good way.

I was panicked about death, my own death, the death of people around me, I was stressed with work, I was in the middle of what was later diagnosed as an episode of clinical depression. I was exhausted and terrified and extremely sad.

Death was my companion on this walk.

I don’t know how to describe it precisely. It wasn’t that I was thinking about death. When I say it was my companion, I mean it quite literally. It was just there, a constant presence, right by my side. It was there in the pounding of my heart, it was there in my racing mind, it was there in my weary feet, in the heaviness of my entire body.

I stared at the river. A tree caught my eye. Do you know how trees breathe sometimes? The leaves shimmer, they vibrate and dance, the light dancing with them and through them and on them, the branches shiver and the whole thing is indescribably alive? That’s what I saw.

And then I saw the water and I saw the sky and I saw the stone and I saw the buildings and I saw that everything was good.

I saw that life was death and death was life and I saw that everything was beautiful.

I saw that everything was an expression of life, that everything lived, that death itself was life expressing itself, that life was everything life was, ugly, beautiful, brutal, tender, and that this was how it was and had to be and it was beyond good, it just was, and that was that and the whole thing was somehow wonderful and en-lightening, in that it made me lighter, it made the world lighter, in both senses of that world, of there being more light and less weight.

I don’t know, man. I can’t really describe it. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it.

But I saw and felt all that.

And I feel I only saw all of that because of the presence of death.

I feel like I had to go through the door of death, I had to go through the panic and terror, I feel like all this was the necessary cause and condition of what I saw and felt.

Just because I felt it doesn't mean it's true.

But it doesn't mean it's not, either.