Dried Leaves, Ottawa

“Death may be beautiful; dying is not.”
– Terisaki’s friend, speaking to Gwen

This quote-as-remembered from the 1961 movie, Bridge to the Sun, comes with no warranty, express or implied, with respect to its accuracy.  It’s spoken by a friend of the main male character (Terisaki, a Japanese diplomat) to dissuade that character’s wife (Gwen, a blonde American) from staying with him through his final illness.

The first thought – Death may be beautiful – is presented as a cultural difference, but the significance of the second thought – Dying is not – is presented as a difference between the genders, albeit mediated by culture.  And so one male member of a culture helps a female outsider let her husband die as he would wish.

“Let him know that you will remember him as he was,” is the sub-text, I guess, as translated for the less poetic among us.

Whether my memory is hot or not, all I’d say now – 55 years later – is that opinions on these matters vary: by culture, era, gender, and person.   Heck, my own opinions vary month to month; sometimes even day to day.

So rather than trying to figure it all out, I’m left with just trying to appreciate the beauty that I can.  And yes, sometimes in death.  And in dying.

Dried leaf on picnic table.

 

Afternoon sun through dried leaves.

 

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