All of us have read thrilling stories in which the hero had only a limited and specified time to live.
Sometimes it was as long as a year, sometimes as short as 24 hours, but always we were interested in discovering just how the doomed man chose to spend his last years or his last hours. I speak, of course, of free men who have a choice, not condemned criminals whose sphere of activities is strictly limited. Such stories set up thinking, wondering what we should do under similar circumstances. What associations should we crowd into those last hours as mortal beings? What happiness should we find in reviewing the past, what regrets?
我们都读过这样一些动人的故事，故事里主人公将不久于人世。长则一年，短则24小时。但是我们总是很想知道这个即将离开人世的人是决定 怎样度过他最后的日子的。当然，我所指的是有权做出选择的自由人，不是那些活动范围受到严格限制的死囚。 这一类故事会使我们思考在类 似的处境下，我们自己该做些什么？在那临终前的几个小时里我们会产生哪些联想？会有多少欣慰和遗憾呢？
Sometimes I have thought it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die tomorrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life. We should live each day with a gentleness, a vigor, and a keenness of appreciation on which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to come. There are those, of course, who would adopt the epicurean motto of “ eat, drink, and be merry, “ most people would be chastened by the certainty of impending death.
有时我想，把每天都当作生命的最后一天来度过也不失为一个很好的生命法则。这种人生态度使人非常重视人生的价值。每一天我们都应该以 和善的态度、充沛的精力和热情的欣赏来度过，而这些恰恰是在来日方长时往往被我们忽视的东西。当然，有这样一些人奉行享乐主义的座右 铭——吃喝玩乐，但是大多数人却不能摆脱死亡来临的恐惧。
Most of us take life for granted. We know that one day we must die, but usually we picture that day as far in the future, when we are in buoyant health, death is all but unimaginable. We seldom think of it. The days stretch out in an endless vista. So we go about our petty tasks, hardly aware of our listless attitude towards life.
The same lethargy, I am afraid, characterizes the use of our faculties and senses. Only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the manifold blessings that lie in sight. Particularly does this observation apply to those who have lost sight and hearing in adult life. But those who have never suffered impairment of sight or hearing seldom make the fullest use of these blessed faculties. Their eyes and ears take in all sights and sound hazily, without concentration, and with little appreciation. It is the same old story of not being grateful for our health until we are ill.
Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see. Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, and I asked her what she had observed. “ Nothing in particular, “ she replied. I might have been incredulous had I not been accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little.
How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough shaggy bark of a pine.
In spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter’s sleep. I feel the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me. Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently in a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers.
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips. At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight.
Yet, those who have eyes apparently see little. The panorama of color and action filling the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps, to appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not, but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life. Oh, the things that I should see if I had the power of sight for three days!