One of the most dramatic and significant sections of the Book is Chapter 12, warning us to use life wisely, while we are still healthy enough.
It describes the onset of old age with graphic and sometimes humorous expertise.
This is an interpretive translation of the chapter:
Value your health (or: Remember your Creator) whilst you are still young, before the bad days come and the years arrive when you will say, “I get no pleasure out of them!”
… before the sunlight, moon and stars become dark and more clouds come back after the rain
… when your arms become shaky and your legs become bent, your few teeth don’t grind and your eyes become dim
… when your ears are blocked, your stomach hardly digests, even the chirp of a bird wakes you and the sound of music becomes weaker
… when you’re afraid of heights and the street is full of terrors
… when the almond tree is in blossom, the grasshopper is busy, the caper bush is in bud, but human life is coming to an end, and the streets are full of mourners
… when the spinal cord snaps, the skull shatters, it’s hard to swallow and the body does not recuperate
… then the dust goes back to the earth as it was, and the life breath returns to God who gave it
… Futility, futility, says Kohelet, everything is futile!