I do find this mitochondrial thing really interesting. Life is so miraculous and thinking about the organelles in the cells, I’m awestruck. Life forms billions of years old have congregated and become self aware organisms.
When first I wake to rosy dawn, fresh from dreams of heaven, all life ahead of me and all things possible, I see myself an epic: great, a world-encompassing story of heroic deeds and tales of gods. When my days begin to lengthen I bethink myself an ode: still heroic, honouring bravery and great power, but brought down to size, fitting the measure of one human life. As I grow into callow youth, into the sweet Elizabethan spring of life, I am enchanted by the lyric and believe if I can be a sonnet with one clear thought, whole and complete like a full-blown rose, that will be accomplishment enough. In middle life the wind changes and scatters the petals of my verse. I lose metre and rhyme and blurt out only lines here and there of free verse or poetic prose, stumbling and stuttering like gunfire on a death-strewn field, all light and possibilities lost, or driven helpless in a sinking raft against a rockbound, twisting riverbank, a desolate threnody. Standing alone upon this shattered field in twilight’s calm, the rapids safely shot and I still alive, I think perhaps I am an elegy, honouring what has gone before, the fallen dreams, ideals that died, all trampled now in mud and mire and blood, or drowned beneath a foaming wave. But even as I move to close my book, the darkening shadows blotting out my words, I turn to take another look. In a black sky stars blink on, planets in their stately dance proceed, the moon smiles with a face lit by the hidden sun. Perhaps my life has been a paean: a hymn of praise, of thanks for being. I’ll spend the night thus, singing praises of the power that moves the stars and wait with certainty the coming dawn.
First written 29.7.2007/edited 21.4.2019
The fire in Notre Dame Cathedral may be a wake up call to humanity. It’s being pointed out that our natural world is figuratively, in some cases literally, going up in flames as habitat is destroyed, species go extinct, humans pollute and change the entire globe. In smaller ways we willingly destroy our own built heritage, the legacy of a past which is being discarded and stamped out at an alarming rate. We are not even educating our children properly any more; they are losing the heritage which is their birthright, the wisdom accumulated by humans over many millennia.
On my way to church at 8 a.m. today I saw people already in line waiting to be let into the Celtic Corner pub. I wonder what Saint Patrick would have made of our strange way of celebrating his life?
I am moving into history. When my aunt passed away recently it dawned on me that I’m now the oldest member of this particular branch of my family. This morning I consider what this really means and know the inexorable tide of history shall bear me away as it has taken all the others who went before. Where do we go, we scraps of flotsam drifting in and out on the tides of life? For a lifetime I’ve been asking the questions, who am I, why am I here, what’s it all about? And perhaps, like Wordsworth, am further away from answers than when I was a child. Time, now, to think about returning to the well from which I sprang.
To welcome death with open arms seems strange
and yet the slow decay of strength and wit
is horror greater to sustain than breath.
Once upon a time humans spent half their time beneath a canopy of stars. We knew them by name and understood their rhythm. Then one day we received the gift of fire. Not only did it frighten away circling predators and hold off nightmares, but so did the stars flee away and a curtain of darkness fell.
I was struck the other day by the number of different kinds of maple leaves I saw in all their magnificent fall colours blowing along the roadside. I picked a few up, I’m a bit of scavenger when it comes to Nature’s prettier droppings, thinking that I would identify them when I got home. But then I remembered I’ve packed my books, including Trees of Canada. I must have found six different kinds including Japanese maple which doesn’t really count, and the ubiquitous, prolific, invasive Norway maple. The others, which I don’t know the names of, the native species, are all different shapes, including one which is just like the one on the Canadian flag so I think it may be sugar maple.
The book of trees is just one of the hundreds I’ve packed in boxes scrounged from the liquor store in preparation for our eventual move. Already I’ve found it inconvenient, so I suppose that’s a good sign. My collection of books is a living, useful one.
A point to ponder: what is the difference between love of the land and patriotism? Is there actually any point of similarity at all?
One leads to a sense of place, a feeling of belonging, security. The other is the trigger for war, fear of the other, desire for conquest.
What is home? Is it the house we’ve lived in much of our life? Is it our town or city or country? Is it things, old familiar things, books you can find on your shelf, familiar kitchen tools, the way the light changes through the day, through the seasons? Is it the view from the kitchen window, or the neighbours passing by on their regular walks? Is it something we can take with us no matter where we go?
Is home in my heart?