Asphodel Meadows: The People’s Paradise — Part I: Lilies of the Field

river wye sunrise3

Death is one of two things. Either death is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from this place to another. Now if there is no consciousness, but only a dreamless sleep, death must be a marvellous gain. If, on the other hand, death is a removal from here to some other place, and if what we are told is true, that all the dead are there, what greater blessing could there be than this? Put it this way: how much would one of you give to converse with Orpheus and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again. It would be a specially interesting experience for me to join them there

As the boat glides gently down the river I sink once more into a light trance in which time seems to be suspended. It is too dark to make out anything beyond the banks, though occasionally vague shapes seem to flit past.

Suddenly I am aware that the boat has stopped and is moored to the riverbank. The Boatman raises his hand and indicates that I should disembark. The sky is lightening, colour returning to the scenery, and I step out carefully.

The riverbank is covered with beautiful, tall, lily-white flowers, which emit a subtle fragrance as I brush through them and emerge into a lush meadow. Meanwhile my ear is caught by the sweetest sounds of music.

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