Lydia Prescott Thayer
What is it in us, especially when we are young, that makes most of us fight for life with such dogged and desperate and passionate persistence? Life is a future we cannot see, mysterious and unpredictable. Yet we choose it, if choice is really ours, even with all its suffering and sorrow because it is there, a challenge like a mountain to be climbed. The mountain’s peak is hidden in the clouds. We cannot see it, but we must reach it at all costs. We are curious, determined, courageous and fool hardy. No alternative appeals to us. So, slowly and painstakingly we struggle to make our way to the top.
Who knows the ultimate length of our journey? Ninety-seven years for one, fifty-sixfor another, eighteen for another. Who measure out our time?
Someone walks a little way with us along the path, and we are grateful for the touch of his or her hand in ours. For a time the sun is just a little warmer and the stars a little brighter. As we grow older, one by one our companions along the way drop out and disappear, taking pieces of our hearts with them. They are no longer there to remember the special, the unique moments we shared together, and so we are diminished and impoverished by their going.
We are all things to all men and women. We are less than what they imagine, and more. We are many persons even to ourselves. Which is the real one? Somewhere deep inside of us is our own very secret self which we may never choose to fully disclose. How adept are we at camouflage? How many penetrate our careful and deliberate disguise? If we pretend too long, do we become our own pretense? Do we lose ourselves in the smoke screen that we ourselves have thrownup? We can only conjecture about those whom we purport to know. Can we ever really know ourselves? The first time we hear our recorded voice, we are shocked and do not claim that voice is ours. Pictures only tell half truths. They are never complete. We have to live withourselves as best we can. We have to die with ourselves as well.
We spend our lives trying to find answers to unanswerable questions, to find reason where perhaps no reason exist. Few claim to have solved the riddle of their existence. None of us can foresee its exact end. We come to terms with what the gods have seen fit to bestow on us and hope that in some small way we have used those gifts to bring a measure of comfort and understanding to those who have accompanied us on our way, and so, temporarily at least, to have helped us assuage the essential loneliness which is the human condition.