Ryuichi Sakamoto and The Sheltering Sky

September 16, 2009

One of the most poignant and emotive quotes I've ever heard was Brandon Lee's recital of a passage from The Sheltering Sky, just days before his own untimely death:

Because we don't know when we will die
Memories imagewe get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.

How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it?

Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless...

Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Ah, the impermanence of mortality, so beautifully rendered in prose... How deliciously ironic that Lee focused on this passage in the days before the tragic accident which ended his life before his fame had truly begun.

Should we not learn to appreciate each little nuance of our lives, the beauty of nature and of each memory which graces our everyday lives, in the knowledge that our seemingly endless days could be cut short at any single moment?

While searching for a website to which I could attribute this passage (attributing to a book while writing for the web seems - to me - inadequate), I discovered this beautiful video of Ryuichi Sakamoto playing the theme song to the film adaptation of this novel.


Image credits: Blockquote background by Bittbox, image by alicepopkorn

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Amanda has read 49 books toward her goal of 50 books.