On occasion I have observed the actual rotation of the earth’s axis. I’ve done this by sitting quietly and watching the movement of a shadow cast by an object, such as the railing of the deck on the south side of my home, as the sun makes its way across the sky on a cloudless afternoon. If I look carefully, I can even watch the slow, steady movement of the shadow. I always find the experience just a little saddening. It’s a little reminder of the inexorable passage of time and of the fact that my participation will come to a close at some point.
But in another sense that melancholic feeling is good because it means that life continues to be an enjoyable, exciting experience for me and I regret that at some point it will have to end. And that brings me to the point of this essay. A friend recently asked me what, as a secularist, I thought of exit strategies. Exit strategies? Yup, that was what he was asking about. He and his wife have discussed whether it might ever make sense to “leave before the show is over,” so to speak. A heavy conversation without a doubt.