What could go wrong? :)

If I remember right, Chris Hadfield made the suggestion that, instead of envisioning success, we should all picture failure. Imagine the countless ways that things can go wrong. Engineers like Hadfield build bridges and launch rockets and keep the Talus balls from rolling into the North Saskatchewan River*, but what they're really acquainted with is collapse and the rest of the long, sad list of how things fade, snap, break, shatter, splinter, fragment, turn to ash, and, essentially, are torn asunder.

This is the honest way of making sure the centre holds for as long as the centre can hold.

Taken to its extreme, it means living life by remembering that I will die. Not that everyone will die, not we all must die, but, me, the tapper of these keystrokes, I will die. Morose? Maybe. Pessimistic? Perhaps. True? Yes. A flight plan for happiness if interpreted in a healthy way? I am beginning to believe so.

Yesterday I pedalled through the city and considered these things from my side of the fence. First, as I saw the tombstones at Westlawn Cemetery on Stony Plain Road.

Glenora School
Then, farther down Stony, the headstones came to life as men kicked a soccer ball above the ground.

Mill Creek
In the Mill Creek Ravine, I came upon an archeological dig. A student from MacEwan University explained I was on the site of the vanished Vogel meatpacking plant, and that I was looking into a piece of the foundation of the facility.

Memento mori is an old piece of wisdom. The ancients taught it helped form the way to a good life. It is worth digging them up again. Or reading Chris Hadfield as a shortcut.

*The Talus Dome is a public art installation composed of more than 1,000 stainless steel spheres shaped like a sloping mass of earth. It sits, suspended, articulating, on a hillside near the Quesnell Bridge in Edmonton.

Talus Dome


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