The things we lack the courage to do are transformed into stories.
–Georgi Gospodinov, Time Shelter
Tang Dynasty poem and quick primer on Chinese philosophy.
Substance speaks to Shadow:
Heaven and Earth exist for ever:
Mountains and rivers never change.
But herbs and trees in perpetual rotation
Grow and are withered by the dews and frosts:
And Man the wise, Man the divine—
Shall he alone escape this law?
Appearing by chance for a moment in the World
He suddenly departs, never to return.
How can he know that the friends he has left
Miss him and think of him?
Only the things that he used remain;
Friends look upon them and their tears flow.
Me no magical arts can save,
Though you may hope for a wizard’s aid.
I beg you listen to this advice—
When you can get wine, drink it.
There is no way to preserve life.
Drugs of Immortality are instruments of folly.
I would gladly wander in Paradise,
But it is far away and there is no road.
Since the day that I was joined to you
We have shared all our joys and pains.
While you rested in the shade, I left you a while:
But till the end we shall be together.
Our joint existence is impermanent:
Sadly together we shall slip away.
That when the body decays Fame should also go
Is a thought unendurable, burning the heart.
Let us strive and labour while yet we may
To do some deed that men will praise.
Wine may in truth dispel our sorrow,
But how compare it with lasting Fame?
God can only set in motion:
He cannot control the things he has made.
Man, the second of the Three Orders,
Owes his precedence to Me.
Though I am different from you,
We were born involved in one another:
Nor by any means can we escape
The intimate sharing of good and ill.
The Three Emperors were saintly men,
Yet to-day—where are they?
P’ēng lived to a great age,
Yet he went at last, when he longed to stay.
And late or soon, all go:
Wise and simple have no reprieve.
Wine may bring forgetfulness,
But does it not hasten old-age?
If you set your hearts on noble deeds,
How do you know that any will praise you?
By all this thinking you do Me injury:
You had better go where Fate leads—
Drift on the Stream of Infinite Change,
Without joy, without fear:
When you must go—then go,
And make as little fuss as you can.
– Tao Yuanming (c. 365-427). Translated by Arthur Whaley
This touching scene in Roermond, Netherlands, reveals two final resting places nestled within separate cemeteries. The reason? Jacob Werners Constantinus van Gorcum, the husband, was a Protestant, while Lady Josephina Carolina Petronella Hubertina van Aefferden, his beloved wife, was a devout Catholic. Their differing faiths meant they could not be interred side by side in a single graveyard.
They married in 1842.
When Jacob passed away in 1880, his resting place was designated against the wall. Eight years later, as Josephina breathed her last, her final wish was not to join her family's tomb but to be laid to rest against the same wall as her cherished spouse. Their custom headstones stand as a testament to their enduring bond.Wonderful. Since anyone could change religion in nineteenth-century Netherlands, I wonder why neither one of them converted to the other's faith? I first supposed that there must have been strong family, inheritance, or professional issues, but then I thought it is possible they may just have been committed to their own churches. None of the online sources about them says.
The other popular section of the Nakasendo runs between Narai and Yubahara. Narai is the largest of the historic post towns.