Past and Present

Past and Present

Past and Present

Past and Present

Excerpt

I live on an island. Here it is quiet, and the people are thoughtful. City dwellers don't do much thinking because noise kills thought and because they are preoccupied with dodging cars and escaping the hands of thieves. But on my island, as I said, the people think.

The other day an old, taciturn fisherman asked me, "What is life?" At first his question struck me as a little silly and useless, and in answer I stared at him blankly. But his question seemed to echo in the silence. What is life? He must have been trying to trap me: he knew more about it than I. Living on this quiet island, he had given it much thought. I felt cornered and beset and said, just to regain my freedom, "A gift." The fisherman must . . .

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