I had given away my bed to women surrounded by an ocean of warmth to console their lonely and broken and weary hearts. (And meanwhile tucked my body inside a shoebox properly sized and constructed for the dimensions of a dwarf.)
I had chatted with strangers who opened themselves up before me like cuckoo clocks (who otherwise kept and were keeping time with atomic precision, from the day the minute hand struck adulthood ‘til the moment the short hand had hit the final hour of their death.)
Before scores if not hundreds of children, born with as little hope as a rose planted in a desert, I gave them songs of sand, songs of sea, and songs of land to sing by. And of this I am most happy. I can’t say a word more there.
Before the rising sun atop a mountain’s ledge I opened my eyes until they hurt a little bit, and before its setting, closed them until I saw no more. And I admired that all, however much and however little my mind was placed in history’s little thimbleful of time which my single human life had already filled.
I gave away my lovers, my bed sheets, my time, and all my possessions—even my tiny ivory elephants who fit inside a little red bean, a whole herd of them. All remembrances of me, even a hand-carved, wooden plaque bearing my name were given away, burned, laid by the roadside somewhere, or gone.
And I remembered thinking: this is how Jean Sibelius must have lived and how he must have been during the last thirty years of his life when he had composed nothing, not even a note on paper bearing even one sound of a song. Songless sparrow, depart!
And when I had died, I realized that none of this, in truth, was any suffering at all. The entirety of it was mourning. The loves, the cuckoo clocks, the contraband knick-knacks stolen out of Africa, the weary human heart—it was all, all of it, from our beginning to our end, a period of mourning.