Do every deed, speak every word, think every thought in the knowledge that you may end your days at any moment.
I brought Alla down to Providence the other day.
She is here to attend her Brown University 25th Reunion.
This guy is why they call the place Camp Bruno.
The campus was in fine form.
The azaleas were gorgeous.
And the bunnies were everywhere.
I got to see one of my favorite statues, the equestrian Marcus Aurelius.
Which I first saw in Rome many years ago.
The statue has pride of place in the square on the Capitoline Hill called the Piazza del Campidoglio, which was designed by Michelangelo.
I had seen the Emperor many times while I was a graduate student at Brown.
In all kinds of weather.
Marcus Aurelius is perhaps best known as the author of The Meditations, one of the greatest works of Western philosophy.
Are you distracted by the poor thing called fame? Think how swiftly all things are forgotten.
It was the first book I looked for at the Boston Athenaeum when I became a member several years ago.
It is in our power not to have an opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul.
Set against the backdrop of the Granary Burying Ground, the Bornheimer Room is the perfect place for reading.
And for contemplation.
How much he gains in leisure who looks not to what his neighbors say, or do, or intend.
Alla had a special moment with The Philosopher during our visit.
She was clearly in a reflective mood.
I had a chance to take a walk down memory lane.
To pass by my old window at the Graduate Center.
And enjoy the paths where I had strolled silently so many times.
Nowhere can a man find any retreat more quiet and more full of leisure than in his own soul. Constantly, therefore, allow yourself this retirement, and so renew yourself.
Alla posed before the Van Wickle Gates, a special spot on campus.
The gates are opened only two times during the year:
Once in September to let in a new freshman class.
And once on Memorial Day weekend to let out another graduating class. As well as all other graduates who come back for their reunion.
They will leave their university.
To start a new life.
The life of a citizen runs well when he passes on from one public-spirited action to another.
Tomorrow Alla will go out into the world.
Under the serene gaze of The Philosopher.
Do justice with all your heart, and speak the truth. What remains but to enjoy life?