July 5, 2012

On Knowing that You are Living - Acts of Valor and Henry David Thoreau

Heading northward towards Keene, New Hampshire, I saw a sign for the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon, MA.

Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery
Having just watched Act of Valor, a movie based on actual US Navy Seal operations, I found my way to the cemetery to pay my respects.

Time Passes

One of the movie Seals dies while saving his comrades in an extraordinary act of valor.  The film concludes with an effort to make sense of life and death, quoting from a poem (excerpted here) by Native American Chief Tecumseh:

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.  Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

After the Swim (Walden Pond)
Transendentalist Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, chose living in the woods to make sense of living and dying:

Walden on my Mind

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Book of Life
Parallel phrasings, yet perpendicular paths.