I woke up this morning with a bad case of the blues. I’m not really sure what to write. Depression has her way with me in my sleep and then clings to me like a caul when my eyes open and I have to pretend to be functional.
Things seem OK, then not OK. The tiny tragedies that make me crumble taper off, then return in a full-force gale. I can’t handle some of the basic pressures of being alive. There seems to be no end-game or goal – no purpose – to any of it. We are born. We become instruments of a machine far larger than our minds can comprehend. We reproduce. We die.
What an impossible burden to place on a species, the consciousness of death. And we, among all of our neighbors on this planet, are alone in our understanding of Death’s inevitability. I’m not sure the natural world would function so well if animals had the capacity to understand life’s inescapable impermanence. The ants would stop building hills. My dog would become listless and stop chewing his bone or wanting to play fetch. My cats would stop running and jumping around like possessed squirrels. That should have been an old Twilight Zone episode. “Death Spills the Beans.” Why us? Why should we have to deal with this shit, and how could we possibly be equipped to? It’s fucking scary. Animals are frightened of thunderstorms. Imagine if they knew the truth. It’s enough to make any sentient being immediately insane. This – staring down Death’s black mouth every day while we pretend everything will be just fine – this and opposable thumbs separate us from animals. And the divide is a chasm.
It’s hard to understand how anyone even gets out of bed knowing they could cease to exist at any moment. I envy religious people of their ignorance and blind confidence that when they die, they’re going somewhere better and will join all their lost loved ones in some celestial bliss factory. I imagine holding this firm, true belief makes you a much happier person. How could it not? But I can’t get myself there. It’s too symmetrical, too fair. Which spells…false. We aren’t going anywhere. You can try to escape to any nook or cranny of the Earth, or even outer space, and it’ll find you.
We are just passengers along for this strange ride until we meet Death, that whimsical little asshole of a harbinger who wreaks havoc upon whatever he touches. No matter how many people we cherish and who cherish us back, we are alone on our rides toward reckoning.
I’m scared. Are you?