"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could."
- Louise Erdrich, from The Painted Drum
[Update continued: A life well-lived has to, eventually, cause pain. It's part of loving deeply enough to expose your innermost self. No matter what that pain may bring, at least you know; you tasted all the sweetness you could.
Hurrying home after a late day at work today, I glanced up in time to see the sunset. It startled me. On the vacation from which I just returned, in the national parks, we planned our evenings around seeing the sunset.
"The sun still sets here in Michigan," I realized with a sort of embarrassed surprise. It's even often lovely. I just have to look up now and then.