Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Life and Death
sunny and 65 degrees
10 June 2009 | Boulder, CO
Another year? It was my birthday last week. 38 big ones. And while a year of my life passing is hardly even a hiccup on the interstellar radar of the universe, to me it has some importance.

For one thing, I'm alive and I view that as a good thing. It's hard not to count myself luck for making it this far - especially considering some recent sad news. Three climbers died in China in an avalanche. One was a young kid from Minnesota who went to college in the same town I did, Northfield. Tragic. My heart aches thinking of their families.

Still, there has to be some consolation knowing that these three died doing something they loved. They knew the dangers. Regardless, I'm not big fan of death and I have to admit, I've pondered the means of my own 'end' a time or two before. To be honest, it scares me a bit. For solace sometimes, I think of a friend who passed away in Grand Marais last year. Talking to another friend visiting him in the hospital he said to her, 'why are you crying, you weren't afraid of being born were you?'

The wisdom of this lies in its simplicity - death is just another part of life. This is who, what and how we are. From the moment I was born, I have been dying. And living.

Avalanches in the Himalayas. Polar Bears on the Arctic Ocean. Backing out of your driveway in the morning. Death is only another hiccup in the universe away.

In the end, maybe its not death so much that I'm afraid of as simply not living.
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