I apologize for not having blogged for about a week now. Frankly, I hadn’t been feeling well, though I now seem to be on the mend. Funny how you get up one morning and your whole world can change. I think we often forget this, even with our best laid schemes to wrest security from the fates, much as did Oedipus in that splendid Sophocles rendition more than two millennia ago.
I heard somewhere, and never really forgot it, that every morning looms the possibility we tie our shoes for the last time. Life’s fragility should teach us its sacredness, a fine wine to be dispersed carefully, for once gone, there is no more. When I used to be into religion, it was habitual for me to say, “Lord willing” before setting out on any new venture, not only in recognition that events don’t always lie in human hands, but that somehow if we sanctify the moment with God’s blessing, then like seasoning poured on the food, everything will be better. Now I know you can sign the cross daily, pray five times to Mecca, call on Zeus, or whatever your thing is, only to find life goes its own way, defiant, mindless of human desire.
My best counsel with living life successfully into old age is simply, Watch your step. One of my favorite poems, a nightstand staple in Victorian homes, is Fitzgerald’s magnificent adaptation from the Persian of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. Now here you have a poem, whole snatches of which are worth committing to memory for their ability to measure life rightly. The poem, in turn, reminds me of my favorite biblical book, Ecclesiastes, with its similar take on life’s cosmic rhythms. I doubt anyone can do better than Khayyam in depicting in four lines life’s brevity in an ambiguous universe:
Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain–This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies__
The flower that once has blown forever dies.