On the Narrow Ledge

Biology is not destiny. Each of us should be be free to choose our life, free of children or not, mindful of the admonishment, “Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Consider the emptiness of a life without choice. Consider Miranda, the young woman at the center of Katherine Anne Porter’s short story, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.” Miranda is sick and alone in the hospital and it’s the 1918 flu epidemic, thousands are dying around her, including a soldier she, feverish, thinks about—a relationship that may be more imaginary than real.

“She lay on a narrow ledge over a pit that she knew to be bottomless, though she could not comprehend it… thinking, There it is, there it is at last, it is very simple; and soft carefully shaped words like oblivion and eternity are curtains hung before nothing at all.”

Our place in the universe is unfathomable. Choice lies at the center of what it means to be human.

2023, ICM, Photo-Composite, Chicago