Virtue in Eternity
Yesterday I went back to a trail I'd hiked 19 years ago. Wow, Snowmass has changed! It took me awhile to get re-oriented. I wanted to revisit two places. First, the path through the Aspen grove on the Nature Trail pictured here. I had an old picture of this trail but it was in the days of film and negatives, before digital (and before I worked for Kodak and saw how digital changed everything in the world of photography). Now I had my phone with an awesome camera with photos backed up into the cloud and MP3 player built in. Gotta love it!
I had another agenda, too. To hike up to an incredible view – and special place. A bench placed in memoriam of a man named Patrick Virtue. I couldn't imagine a more incredible tribute to someone's life. And given the bleak future I envisioned at the beginning of this year, it was even more important to explore mortality – and immortality. Forget a funeral – give me a bench with a view for all eternity! Here's a video I shot to give you the full 360 degree perspective:
My sister quips with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Annie Hall, that my "favorite subject is death." Actually, it's more like the meaning of life and beyond. Sneaking a peek through the spiritual veil. So this memorial of Mr. Virtue prompts an interesting discussion about Virtue and Eternity. Here's the definition and history of the word "virtue" on one of my favorite websites – The Online Etymology Dictionary:
- virtue (n.)
- c. 1200, vertu, "moral life and conduct; a particular moral excellence," from Anglo-French and Old French vertu "force, strength, vigor; moral strength; qualities, abilities" (10c. in Old French), from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage (in war); excellence, worth," from vir "man" (see virile).
And here's the definition of "eternity." Interesting that "virtue" came before "eternity."
- eternity (n.)
- late 14c., "quality of being eternal," from Old French eternité "eternity, perpetuity" (12c.), from Latin aeternitatem (nominative aeternitas), from aeternus"enduring, permanent" (see eternal). Meaning "infinite time" is from 1580s.
How would you like to be immortalized? How important is it for you to be remembered? Through your kids? Your work? Volunteerism and causes? A bench on a mountaintop?
Here's a favorite song of mine… "Hey, Man, Now You're Really Living" by the Eels. A tongue-in-cheek look at the meaning of life. Click here for a link to the lyrics, including:
Now you're really giving everything
And you're really getting all you gave
Now you're really living what this life is all about
This song really affected me at a transitional point in my life. If you're going to really live, you have to take the good with the bad.
What does this song say to you? What does "virtue" mean to you? How about "eternity?" Offer your thoughts on the 365 Days in Aspen Facebook page: