For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Today I was walking to class on the sidewalk between Inman and Patton when the memory of last semester came over me like a daydream. Tangibly, suddenly, I was on the walk to York Gate, St. Marylebone parish behind me as I passed posh, creme-colored one-stories, looked left to cross the street, and bounded the bridge into crisp and green Regent’s Park. It was a walk I made often, at least three times a week, and suddenly as my feet want to go down that path today, I struggle to comprehend that they cannot. I cannot simply go to York Gate anymore. I am here, that park is there.
Lately, as many of my friends and I are nearing the end of our college years, I feel a similar panicky sludge fairly often. I am walking these paths, seeing these faces, sleeping in these homes, soon to be no more. One day, this moment will not be here. Belmont will be a place I return to to reminisce, maybe show my children one day. Nashville will be a place where I lived. This day will be a memory.
I don’t have much to reflect on about any of this. Just that I am coming to understand the brevity of it all.
Near the end of my time abroad, my teacher-turned-friend Kate sent me a postcard. On one side, a painting of UGA’s bulldog in royal, Athenian garb (she was there finishing up her master’s). On the other, kind words and thoughts and encouragements. It ended, “Take lots of walks. You can’t walk the streets of London in Tennessee.”
I think that what I am trying to say is that after I read her words, I took a walk to that park every single day because I knew that one day I couldn’t anymore. And this life is always headed towards endings. Every season that is birthed will someday fade away into another. This steady stream of breath inside us, feeding the trees, trees feeding us in return… the ebb and flow of all will come to a rest. And I think that living with the end in sight, even and most especially when I am completely unaware of what is on the other side, is a very good thing.