Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last things

There is an old Bette David tearjerker in which Davis, a prosperous Connecticut lady, goes to a doctor for a routinge check-up. He determines that she has only three months to live. (Well, I forget the exact figure, but it is quite definite.) He conceals the results from her, but by accident she finds out. At first angry and defiant, the Davis character learns to ration out her days in rewarding ways. He life ends as she is casually pruning some flowers in her garden.

Recently a friend, an academic who is a literary scholar, found that she had an incurable hereditary condition that would soon make her totally blind, as it did. With modern technology, however, K is able to function pretty well as before. There is certainly no obstacle to her lecturing, as I recently found in attending an academic gathering where she spoke.

I am an art historian, though, so matters could be prove to be more dire. What would I gaze at if I were to learn that I had only three months more of looking? One thing would be to review images of places that have impressed me: Chartres, Palenque, the Grand Canyon, Angkor Wat, and so fotth. Then for a sheer immersion in nature I would examine gorgeous photos, as those of Elliott Porter, featured in the recent Metropolitan Museum calendar. Then, perhaps, photographs of people who have meant much to me. Only after all that, would I look at reproductions of paintings.

It is an interesting exercise. Try it.



Post a Comment

<< Home