Life and death is the circle of nature

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Life and death. They are the world’s most definitive yin and yang. Without one the other cannot exist. It doesn’t seem fair though, does it? We are born as babies. Helpless, fragile, and completely dependent on others. Then we grow up. Our bodies get larger, we learn skills that allow us to survive on our own, and finally we leave the nest.

Well, most do at least. Once we’re fully grown, we are an unstoppable force of nature. With our strong but nimble hands we are able to create beautiful works of art, play music on contraptions of wood and string, and even build homes to live in. Thousands of years ago, the Romans used intelligence and ingenuity to build concrete roads and buildings which are still in use to this day.

The palm tree. (Photo by Kyle Levy
The palm tree.
(Photo by Kyle Levy

Also, as adults we get to fall in and out of love, thereby experiencing one of life’s greatest pleasures. Nothing beats that initial stage in a relationship in which you first realize that you’re in love. It’s exhilarating, scary, and overwhelming all at the same time. Then there’s sex, which is like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. Not completely necessary but still not the same without. From there it only gets better.

As people proceed their twenties, life is perfect. Barring extreme circumstances you’re in your “prime” physically. You can pretty much eat and drink anything you want. Those all nighters filled with wild adventures and debauchery are common occurrences. Some would argue that you’re the most attractive that you will ever be. Personally, I think fruit tastes sweeter after it’s had time to ripen up a bit, but that’s just my opinion. Regardless, life is good during your twenties, and it doesn’t have to stop there. I’ve met men and women in their forties and fifties who are in better shape than me, but then again I do live in California. However, eventually time and age take their toll on the body.

Our strong steady hands get weak and shaky. Those pecs and abs we work so hard on get soft and sag. It happens. It’s life’s cruelest joke. We’re given such power and strength and then forced to watch it all slip away. Then the end comes. It can be slow and sometimes painful, but it’s inevitable nonetheless. To live you must eventually die.

I’ve given the concept of death a lot of thought lately. Not to be morbid, although I think he ship has sailed on that one, but I can already tell that I’ve passed my “prime.” The simple truth is I’m not twenty-two anymore, and I’m okay with that. I think that no matter what your religious beliefs are, most will agree that this is it. You are only guaranteed one real chance at living.

Whether or not an afterlife exists, it won’t be like this one. I think we all get to a point where we accept this simple fact. However, part of me believes that this can’t be it. Maybe it’s arrogant to think that I am above death, that the world simply cannot exist without me in it, but it’s a very human way to feel.

The grave of the turtle. (Photo by Kyle Levy)
The grave of the turtle.
(Photo by Kyle Levy)

On the other hand, the whole circle of life (cue Elton John) is beautiful in its circular nature. The natural law requires that cows die for me to eat a steak. In the same turn, I must return to the earth as sustenance for grass which feeds the cow. This cycle, albeit extremely simplified, cannot be disrupted even though I desperately cling to the idea of a cure for death.

Who am I to think that I deserve to live forever and not the guy standing beside me at the bus stop? In the spirit of life and death, no pun intended, I woke up this morning to find that one of my turtles died over night. I’m by no means heartbroken, but I am quite sad. He or she was a gentle creature that brought joy to my life each day when it was feeding time.

In a rare moment of grief and sadness, I packed the little turtle up in a box and buried it outside under a palm tree. I figured if the little turtle’s soul (yes I believe all living beings have souls) is somewhere up in the sky looking down, then it will be happy to know that its body is resting under the shade of a beautiful palm tree in Hollywood. Rest in peace little guy. You will be missed.