|2nd Edition Published January 15, 1998.|
To whet your appetite, here is the quote that manages to convey a lot of insight in a few short words:
"Let life ripen and then let it fall." Lao TzuNearing (b. 1904) and her husband, Scott Nearing (b. 1883), were New York intellectuals who left the city to live in rural Vermont.
He was a well-known political philosopher and radical. Together they ran a large property and wrote books for city-suburban dwellers about the value of returning to a rural life.
Scott was a little more than 20 years Helen's senior, so even though he lived until he was 100 years old, Helen lived another 12 years as a widow.
Already a voracious reader and contemplative by nature, these years without Scott gave Helen Nearing more opportunity to meditate on the interplay between aging, wisdom, spirituality, and death.
As a gerontologist, I feel very strongly that aging be depicted as a vibrant era of life: an age of growth and social engagement. Nevertheless, older adults (in industrialized nations) do encounter death of their partners and peers and do contemplate their own deaths with more depth than people of any other age group.