Monday, 4 July, 1994
He is in an entirely different part of the world, feeling his lesions and thinking about death. Yesterday he looked at the joyful Mediterranean, and imagined a time when his body would not have limited him to an observer’s role in a beach chair as others dove into the salty water. Visconti’s protagonist in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice came to mind. And yet he was not a fictional character; he was a real human being who needed to remind himself that this trip to Israel and Egypt, however difficult it may be in underscoring his limitations, was nevertheless an affirmation of life, to see another part of the world and to gain a new understanding of it and, yes, even his own ever apparent mortality. Perhaps yet his visit to the earthly Jerusalem would bring him closer to God’s kingdom.
[journal entry, his last summer, while traveling as a Fulbright fellow]