A Veiled Stranger

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich (1809-1810)

Nothing can be sadder or more profound than to see a thousand things for the first and last time. To journey is to be born and die each minute. Perhaps somewhere in the vague recesses of his mind he perceived parallels between this series of dissolving views and our human life. All the elements of life are in constant flight from us, with darkness and clarity intermingled, the vision and the eclipse; we look and hasten, reaching out our hands to clutch; every happening is a bend in the road…and suddenly we have grown old. We have a sense of shock and gathering darkness; ahead is a black doorway; the life that bore us is a flagging horse, and a veiled stranger is waiting in the shadows to unharness it.

, Les Miserables