We only live once: one day we will leave this world


We have seen the white mists rise over the hills in winter. We have watched them creep into the valleys, to fill up the gullies and cover the rocks with their thick, grey blanket. They come slowly, for they are patient, and they never hurry. But when they reach the level ground, then they tend to move quickly, and with a great noise of rushing waters they sweep across it, and hide the sun from us.

Then we see no more; only we feel that we are cold, and our hearts beat heavily, as though something was pressing upon them. We know what is happening. The white mist has crept into the valley, and filled up all the little hollows where the water lies hidden under its covering of ice. It will go on filling them till there is none left, and then the river will cease to run.

And so the river-mist moves onward and upward, gathering together every little streamlet, until at last it comes to the mountain heights, and fills them too. Then it creeps down again, over hill and dale, through field and forest, to cover the whole earth with one vast sheet of whiteness.
And so it will be with us also. When death comes to us he will take away our breath, and leave us without light or sound. Our bodies will become like those of the dead, and our spirits will fade and wither. Like the mist we shall pass silently away, leaving no trace behind us, and all that we have ever loved will forget us, and grow old while we are young. It is sad, but it must be so.

The time of our separation will come, and we must go. The mist will rise from the valley, and bear us off into the unknown. Our earthly pilgrimage will be over, we have done our work, and it is for us to learn what that work was, and what we were before.

Let us not seek to escape from the present by wandering backwards. Let us not turn in sadness from the friends who are still here, and all that we have loved and cherished on earth.

Remember that time is fleeting; do not waste a moment, but live every moment to the full.