Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Human Experience

Something about Nora Ephron’s death has touched me deeply.  I think it’s partly her wonderful snarkiness which is being remembered, and the way she celebrated women’s experiences as captured in her screen plays and movies.

But, the most touching detail of all about her life to emerge is her list.  Her collection of essays entitled “I Remember Nothing” included two lists: things she will miss and things she won’t miss.  Among the things she won’t miss are—dry skin; taking off makeup every night; panels on women in film; Clarence Thomas…read the whole list for yourself.  Among the things she will miss are—her kids; fall; reading in bed…

The list ends “Taking a bath; Coming over the bridge to Manhattan; Pie.”  That closing raises such a lump in my throat.  And, then I realize—what she is saying she will miss is the human experience.

It is such a trite and obvious observation that it hardly seems worth noting but the only way we experience anything is through our existence.  We are born humans and that is how we perceive and know all we know.

A while back in this blog I posted a poem I had written in 2006.  Herewith—


This is a road on which
The only detour is death.
The body ages undeniably
There is no turning back
So helplessly you watch—
As skin sags
And flesh congeals
But you keep on living

The lure of living is knowledge
In death there is no knowing
So you live because you want to know.

By Donna F. W.
© March 2006
Among the comments I received on that post was one from my father who suggested: “how about writing a sequel to "Knowing", about life after exchanging this land of the dying for the land of the living, one pointing to eternal death, and eternal life?”

Well, I never did write such a poem.  I am firmly planted in this life’s experience.  I do not deny that some people believe in another existence to come.  It simply is for me that whatever we believe is born out of our human experience and understanding in this world.  We can’t really KNOW if there is anything else.

So, Nora Ephron’s list touches me deeply.  When the human experience draws to a close, there will be things we will NOT miss and things we do miss.  Perhaps the most compelling thing is the ability to experience any of it.


NCmountainwoman said...

Very thoughtful and well stated. I also miss Nora Ephron, surprisingly so since I rare thought about her. I agree.

You are right. Don't write the sequel. I especially loved, "The lure of living is knowledge."

Ginnie said...

Thanks for this nice tribute to a brilliant lady. Her sense of humor and love of life were a joy to see.

Anvilcloud said...

Nice tribute and poem. Yes, we hang on here, knowing what we know, because that's all we can do.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Thanks for you comments and observations. Thanks to the eternal life of the electronic world I listened to an lovely interview with Nora Ephron on the radio. It was interesting to learn more about her and hear it in her own voice.