Life Is Real, Life Is Earnest, And the Grave Is Not Its Goal



So by now you’ve probably seen this magical set of photos somewhere on your own social media feed.

The first time or two that I saw them, I had trouble believing that they were real, as in, not posed, not made up, not some wonderful artist’s vision of life at the top of the world.

(For some odd historical reasons, Mongolia’s always had a bit of a claim on my heart and my imagination and, not for nothing, Nicholas Roerich with whom I also have an odd, silly, unexplained connection, has always been one of my favorite artists. )

But these photos.  Wow.

I keep wondering how much it’s all worth, how the scales balance out.  I am, in material terms, more privileged than about 99% of the Earth’s population.  I have have a brand new cell phone, and laptop, and more technology than you can list;  and a lovely law-talking job; and a lot of comfort; and books; and a car; a 401(k); and a concierge doc; and local roasted coffee every morning; and cleaning ladies; and all the music of the world plugged into the Zombies, Run! app that I use each day on the treadmill; and, well, you get the idea.

And when I contrast that with setting my baby out to nap in the sun against the reindeer; riding reindeer (!) across crystal-clear icy-green streams; holding baby reindeer to wash them; hunting with wolves; hunting with eagles; and petting bears (!) — well, then, sometimes, I think maybe I did get the short end of the stick.  Odd how the article fails to identify these people as Pagans.

It almost sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?

I wonder what we’ve lost without even realizing it.  I wonder if I’ve gone too far down this branch of the crossroads to find out.  I wonder if we all have.

Picture found in first link.  Title from a poem by Longfellow.


One response to “Life Is Real, Life Is Earnest, And the Grave Is Not Its Goal

  1. I never tire of seeing those pictures of the Dukha people – their intimacy with the animals is breathtaking.

    I, too, am a huge fan of Roerich’s art – the Roerich museum is in NYC and must make some time to see it especially since I’m close by in NJ.

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