Recently I was standing at a friend’s open kitchen window drinking a cup of tea while she was at the barn talking to the farrier who had put special shoes on her 35 year old horse, Charles. Sound travels easily across pasture, and I heard the farrier say, “I don’t know… sometimes I stop and notice the day and think it’s a beautiful day to die.” I had no idea what was being discussed, but he had my attention.
Later during dinner my friend mentioned the conversation with the farrier. They had been talking about Charles, who struggles to get to his feet after lying down as a result of severe arthritis. She then said what I had heard earlier: “the farrier said sometimes he stops and notices the day and thinks it’s a beautiful day to die.”
Tears welled in her eyes as she added, “Well, it is another perspective, isn’t it?”
Yes, it is a different perspective and possibly one to thoughtfully explore
Because California is in a drought, we have had one beautiful day after another this winter, and I often catch myself saying out loud “what a beautiful day!” Since hearing the farrier’s words I find myself adding “and it would also be a beautiful day to die.” While I am certainly not eager to die, I have noticed the words bring a sense of peace.
There comes a time when there is no U-turn or bypass
Without realizing it, you have practiced all of your life for your final day on earth.
From childhood on your life falls apart. You have no easy answers. You feel broken. And then life rearranges itself and you adapt. Eventually, what seemed unbearable becomes a bittersweet memory, and you are stronger and more resilient for having had the experience.
This is not a crass process. It takes guts.
At some point, when you least expect it, you are forced you to come to terms with the daunting and often paralyzing fact that your life is coming to an end. Unfortunately our contemporary perspective views death as the failure to stay alive, and so we sign up to extend our life medically and fight to remain alive.
Does the day you die have to be the end of a battle?
You might not be able to control when you die, but you could consider that the day you die is not the end of a battle, but the end of years when everything that happened belongs, and everyone who has come and gone belongs. Yes, everything that was good, bad, sad, hare-brained, half-witted, baffling, bewildering and unfathomable belongs… and it’s a beautiful day to die.
And until that day, doesn’t it make sense to get out “into it”—get out into the beautiful days you have left. Become aware of what a beautiful day is—and ask if your expectations of life are reasonable—or are they getting in the way of another beautiful day.