Life is not a road, but a pier.

I’m currently reading the first book, Spring Snow, in a four part series, The Sea of Fertility, by Japanese author Yukio Mishima, who immortalized himself by committing sepuku upon the final release of his masterwork quadrilogy.

In the book, a young man is having a love affair with a betrothed woman. During a walk, he says he knows she will leave and forget him once her upcoming marriage comes to fruition. This she acknowledges by telling him that the path we are on is not a road, but a pier that ends where the sea begins.

I was profoundly affected by that statement. How wrong humanity has had it when we call life a road! Indeed, it does so much more resemble a long wooden pier jutting out into the seemingly eternal ocean, deadly and beautiful waves crashing against its supports all the treacherous while. Walking that finite pier is exhilarating and wonderful! The constant threat of the tumultuous sea licking at the half-rotten planks miraculously holding our overbearing weight is the stuff of dreams, and yet we live that adventure with every decision we make. But piers do not go on forever. They end, and they end abruptly, sharply. In a transition more sudden than the emerging passion of a maturing man in his amorous youth, the half-steady pier gives way to a torrid, eternal well. The deepening waters crest and fall in sequential motion as the ever-changing currents sweep them along. The pier ends where the sea begins, the vast, immortal, infinite sea.


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