The Web Log of Jon Henshaw

🐭 Dead possum on the road

Written by , published on and related to 🤔 Philosophy


I passed a dead possum on the road today. Its face was turned towards me and its eyes were open, staring at me, with stains of blood that had poured out of its eyes when it was dying.

What is this possum’s life worth? What is our own life worth?

As someone who no longer believes in the existence of an afterlife or an omniscient invisible being that’s pulling all of the strings, I have a new perspective on the meaning of life. The answer for me has merely become to live.

Living is being in the moment; observing nature; focusing on your breathing; tasting food; smelling pleasant scents; drinking water; intimacy; rest; and feeling the sun give you warmth.

As humans, we allow our complexities and higher reasoning to stack, smother, and obscure what it means to be alive. We build and participate in social constructs that enrage us or cause us severe depression. We become chronically anxious and will either eat too much or not enough. We commit ourselves to debt for things we don’t need, enabling what we owe to become the master of our future actions.

Am I that possum? Are we all that possum after you strip away all of the social constructs that forever occupy our minds?

For me, the possum is a reminder that life is short and our bodies are fragile. It’s a reminder to step away from the fictions we’ve created and participate in, and to reset my body and mind with things that are simple and true, like breathing, resting, smelling, feeling, helping, and loving.

I will continue to create, participate, and do all of the things that I just mentioned that make life messy. But I’ll also try to be mindful and attempt to remain tethered to what is simple and real.