I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day.
- E. B. White
It seems as though the world is tilting again, making that great moon phase change in the rotation of generations. In the face of time, we lose the great icons of contemporary history. Yes, life and death are an endless repeating pattern of loss and replacement, but it seems to me loss is the more poignant. Names and faces, heros and legends... the bookmarks of our lives on earth suddenly depart. Am I the only one who feels the world has lost something significant, saying goodbye this year to Neil Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Hal David, Takane Wantanabe, Hans Einstein, Emmanuel Nues, and so many others who define our history, as well as the familiar? Not all are the brilliant and famous, some are simply those we dearly love. But their loss empties us.
I am reminded by this E.B. White quote that we are often so busy in the world, saving and fixing and doing and making and building and finding, that we forget to enjoy our lives. And enjoy those with us on the journey. To savor the experience of living, to savor the world around us, and to appreciate and fully immerse ourselves in our families and friendships and the beauty of nature. Poet Mary Oliver often writes of the fleeting nature of life itself, calling us to heed the imperative to pay attention and appreciate. I'll close today's note with the final stanza of her poem, "The Summer Day" -
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?