Not Yet Dead

“The smell of that soil came up to me; the smell of ancient bloodshed, of bodies plowed under, all part of the land, part of the earth I was breathing, the creamy smell of the feminine force in the world. That force is Death, the dark, damp, implacable creator of life, the terrible mother who nourishes us and by whom we are, in time, consumed.”

“As for me, I see both the beauty and the dark side of things; the loveliness of cornfields and full sails, but the ruin as well. And I see them at the same time, at once ecstatic at the beauty of things, and chary of that ecstasy. The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware. It means “beauty tinged with sadness,” for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay. For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.”

From:  Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (LITTLE, BROWN A) by Sally Mann