I took a walk through the woods this afternoon. The snowy silence broke when a goose flapped about on the ice in the stream nearby. I had gone out to take photos of wildlife after seeing a bird out my window. I pulled my camera from my jacket and squatted among the sparse bushes and twigs. After a few moments I realized the goose was in bad shape. I sat for a long while watching and photographing. I didn’t want to retreat back to my warm apartment knowing the goose was experiencing its last bit of life. I watched it drag itself to the edge of the frozen stream and under some branches, as if to hide. It tucked its head under its wing and passed.
I’ve heard before that animals will hide away to die alone. Maybe it’s a sense of not wanting to get in the way. Of making your passing as convenient as possible. I believe people behave in a similar way. As I get older I see more and more people closing themselves off to the world. It seems like a naturally occurring thing. Slowly, people go out less and exert less energy on relationships. There’s nothing bad with keeping to yourself. However, left unchecked, isolation is a dangerous thing.
I’m not sure if our seclusion is driven by the same intention as an animal who is dying. Even if we do retreat from one another, in an attempt to protect each other from our inevitable mortality, I think it is a mistake. We are social creatures. While accepting that we may die alone is important, we should take every opportunity to surround ourselves with others until the day we die.
Enjoy this beautiful world. Today is someone’s last.
Taken with a6000. January 4, 2018.