Over the past several years, I have been repeatedly surprised to find that something I might have imagined to be a vibrant and living thing can change suddenly – or, rather, be revealed – to be something altogether dead, despite popular opinion to the contrary.
I can think of many personal examples, beginning, perhaps, with one of the nicest and oldest apple trees in our small orchard. It had fruited up nicely early this summer, only to fail utterly in the last week. Another dead soldier, taken mysteriously, it would seem, in it’s prime.
I might, if I were as delusional as, say, many of our leaders appear to be, start pinning on plastic leaves and fruit to preserve the appearance of life, rather than to dig up the corpse and burn it.
Perhaps, I might argue, such measures would prevent a cascading failure of confidence in nearby trees, blithely going about the business of bearing real edible, life-giving fruit. The fire, of course, might serve as a useful warning to those same trees in this mythically sentient garden.
On the other side of the coin, we might have come to believe that some of our oldest and most treasured institutions are long-dead, having been corrupted beyond recognition. We might, if we cared enough, look to the root-stock and see if any useful life remains before we start that fire.
I’m reminded here of my best hunting dog who went blind suddenly more than a year ago. Some heartless bastards might be inclined to put such a dog down as useless, perhaps more trouble than he’s worth. And while it’s true that he can’t hunt pheasant any longer, he’s tough enough and brave enough to want to make his way in what has become a much more limited world of possibilities. He’s content now to hunt strawberries in the garden and, yes, bump into stuff along the way to my lap every evening.
It may seem unreasonable to some, but I’m inclined to embrace life where I find it, rather than to merely prop-up a cheap facsimile or, worse, to actually forget what real life is all about. But, then it often seems that our culture has become so terrified of death that it tends to opt first for any pretense of life, rather than the essential substance of it, where ever it might still remain.
Here, we might remember that we are, first and foremost, spiritual beings, not, we might hope, the narcissistic meat-puppets that pop-culture seems to promote.
“Test everything. Hold on to the good.”, 1 Thessalonians 21
Let me be clear, I don’t actually believe in literal zombies, you know…the type of walking dead made famous in so many cult films and defined humorously enough here. Still, the apparent fascination with these creatures (along with the possibly more disturbing appeal of vampires that continues to sweep the nation) suggests to me that, abiding in many among us is a fairly deep, even cloying, magnetism with death itself.
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but wonder what such obsessions might tell us about the psyche of our culture, especially, when even our political leaders appear to grasp first for the surest poisons in the medicine cabinet. And, for those of us who might recall the overused “lipstick on a pig” from 2008, we’ve learned a bit more about the art of makeup (and embalming) in the years since.
Sadly, real zombies, it seems, are springing up all around us. Whether merely for fun or for fear, there has been a disturbing blurring of the old bright line between the living and the dead. For those who are truly comfortable with this growing gray-zone of the living-dead, you best learn to play the part. (Find some excellent make-up tips here.) But, don’t fool yourself, you won’t find life down that road.
Not sure where you stand? Look here for a little guidance: TOP TEN SIGNS THAT YOU MIGHT BE A REAL ZOMBIE
Best Wishes in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,
“You cannot parcel out freedom in pieces because freedom is all or nothing.” – Tertullian