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The Sheltering Sky

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

While I was out enjoying this view tonight, my parents were inside with the shades drawn, completely missing it. It reminded me of a book I read decades ago, and a passage that has remained with me.

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

- Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Watching someone lose those memories of that certain afternoon of childhood makes this so real. It's not an inexhaustible well, the number of times you can laugh with your friends, hug your children, sit around the fire pit with your family. You may only have a few opportunities left, so use them up, fill your life with the things that take your breath away. Your time to enjoy those things is not limitless.

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