Death, the Breach

Death is a terrible breach.

It upsets a fundamental expectation of our humanity: that we are linear creatures, meant to progress indefinitely along the line of time. Death cracks that line with its gaping jaws and swallows us whole. Death is the recurring wound in the history of humanity.

And so we exist as lines stretched betwixt two points:

Beginning. End.

But not willingly. If we were meant to be so bracketed, why does the endpoint feel so consistently inappropriate? Why does it rudely interrupt, rather than elegantly complete? Why does it send shrapnel of existential doubt tearing through our souls?

Perhaps, it could be said, that humans are incurable optimists who simply cannot bear that the party should end. Perhaps the noble course of action would be to bow to the inevitable as we step off the merry-go-round and give some other kid a go at it.

Perhaps. If existence is cyclical. But I doubt that very much.

We are sparks, flying upward. Born to fly, and fly we do. Until we cool and fall to the ground, ashen. But we reach, reach upward, ever toward the unfathomable perpetuity of the sun, that we might burn with its glory.

But alas, the breach.

There is an ancient tale which slips a nagging doubt into the ear of the modern man, with his modern myth. That myth tells us we are players in an infinite cycle of accidental progression. But the ancient tale quietly objects, whispering, “Listen. Question. Feel the disjunction. Death is not good.”

This story tells of a life-giving tree, a palpable goodness, and an invader. Of sparks made to fly ever upward to glory. Of Doubt and its weighty grappling hooks. Those sparks were pierced by Doubt’s barbs and hurled downward, extinguishing their burning light to ash.

Our journey to glory was interrupted. It is no wistful notion that we were meant to keep going; it is an echo of our first parents’ cry of agony.

Death, the breach.


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