One day, it suddenly hit me that all the late writers, artists, and other historical figures I’ve ever been curious to read about lived to an average of seventy to eighty-five years. But of course, that’s the standard life span. It’s true for even my few departed kin and acquaintances; my grandfather, whom I adored, died when he was 84 years old, while my grandma is still running at 84, in which case I hope she’d continue to beat the odds. Using the same general principle on mortality, and unless I suddenly get stricken by lightning or suffer some other awful accident, I realized that I probably won’t get to live past the 2050s. And this stunned me to the point of near paralysis, though very briefly, like for twenty-four seconds. No matter what people say, especially talks about faith and heaven or some other mystical utopia, it’s simply terrifying to have to acknowledge the sheer bleakness of life, which is ironically called death. It’s funny that phrases like “the average life span...” or “he or she lived to be...” normally grace our conversations, literary publications, and entertainment media, as just another day's minutiae and probably flit through our consciousness much less than going for oil change. But while it may very well be just an everyday trifle, it can be quite disturbing when you come face to face with this undeniably dire subject of mortality.
A basic antidote to such forbidding pictures like the one painted above: Nature. Below are twenty-four and 12 second bits at Ocean Grove beach. Brilliant Beach and Blue Skies.