Sunday, September 12, 2004

Three grand old oaks

I was reminded yesterday by a newspaper clipping that three people I have admired from afar- Julia Childs, Elizabeth Kuebler Ross, and Czeslaw Milosz- all passed away this summer after very long and productive lives. I couldn't possibly do justice to the lives of these three, and actually have read only smatterings of their works. But what I got was enough to help me along with my personal journey. For me they each were like distant pole-stars, representatives of a philosophy which accepts and then celebrates the cold clay of life. I was brought up on St. Augustine's manic Manicheism, in which the daily world was at best a distraction to higher aspirations. It took a long time for me after college, starting with Karl Rogers but with Kuebler-Ross not far behind, to realize that for me life has got to be about living. Cooking, loving, dying, it all *is*, and it makes me happier to try to think it's all good.

I wrestled with that last line; the kids at Beslan came back to me.

Good bye, you three. May other oaks grow in the places you left.

1 comment:

jenpw65 said...

I have also been thinking about these three. For some reason, the thought that Julia Child began her cooking career at age 50 put an extra bounce in my step. And Czeslaw Milosz wrote some of his best work in the second half of his life. Since it is pretty clear that I am not going to be a 20 year old prodigy, I am now looking forward to blooming in my middle age! We'll get there yet. . .