The Common Good
July 2011

The Art of Dying

by Tom Montgomery Fate | July 2011

One man searches for balance between family and solitude, nature and technology.

I have been dead for a long time when I finally catch the delicate scent of my carnation -- just a trace, just for a second. A pigeon coos as it struts along the edge of my sheet. Then a little girl -- one of the children of the temporarily dead -- starts giggling about something. Her clicking shoes skip through the odd labyrinth of flower-adorned bodies.

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I' m not sure why I came to this demonstration. I need to go grocery shopping and I have stacks of papers to grade. What motivated me? Guilt? Yes, partly. The belief I'm making a difference? No. I don't think so. The hope that this theater of the absurd will help alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people? No, not really. It’s less noble, less clear. I'm just trying to learn how to believe in something, how to see in the dark.

From Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild, by Tom Montgomery Fate. Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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