Saturday afternoon my husband and I walked by the town landing in Deep River, Connecticut. High tide had encountered more rain. Two rowboats normally overturned and chained to driftwood on a small beach now bobbed like lost flotsam. Sloshy waves lapped at a bench by the boat ramp. A wrack line of debris curved several feet up the asphalt. What essays should I be writing? What books should I be reading? What housework beckons? What conversations should I initiate? Water’s power creeps up into all of it.

A few days ago, our car mechanic died in his sleep. A few days before that, a great Appalachian Trail pathbuilder and leader died of late-diagnosed cancer. A man in our church died of cancer only a few days after he’d finished editing his essay about the priest who’d been killed in World War I. Life is so temporary.

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