Rainer Marie Rilke’s poem “The Walk” invokes an image of
later life, a time of life by which we are grasped even if we
cannot grasp it– that “sunny hill” which belongs to old age
imagined as ‘our future selves:’
My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has its inner light, even from a distance–
and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we
a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.
Rainer Maria Rilke, “Spaziergang” or “The Walk,”
written in the Alps, 1924.