Carpe Diem

Today I was struck by the sentiment found in Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” which, ironically, was published posthumously in 1681. Carpe diem then, and now. Here are the tenets: “Carpe diem is a philosophy that took hold in Europe during and after the Black Death plague (1348-1350). The population had seen so much death and destruction that some people embraced the philosophy that every day is a moment to be made the most of, whether it be to eat or to love. All of life’s pleasures are to be indulged; there is no time for waiting because tomorrow might never appear” (CourseHero). Sounds like the perfect philosophy for life after the black plague, and most certainly the days post COVID19. I think we are universally on the crest of roaring back with fervor once more!

Beyond the “party until you drop” route, which by the way I am not averse to, you may want to seize your day by getting outside where ever you can, like the woods, or a nature trail, or just a quiet sidewalk. For me, a wood’s walk is doing the trick today, helping me to feel alive in the cold wind and new snow.

Luckily I live surrounded by deep woods, and am bordered by neighbors who busy themselves with trail building. Bridges included. Today I followed the tracks of master and pup for a while, taking in the quiet, snow falling in gentle markers guiding me deeper and further into this wonderful forest sanctuary.

I had started my walk thinking about of all I was missing, starting with our best Christmas star, the mother of me and seemingly everyone she encountered, then missing my daughter and sons, then missing dinner in our favorite little spot where the chef came out to say hello and the bartender was always generous with his pour. Missing my funny friends and awesome colleagues, and most definitely missing family around my holiday table, missing entering any store and standing around for ages just chatting with anyone without thought of distance. Missing a swim at the indoor pool or hopping on the treadmill or a subway or a plane or a busy sidewalk and not thinking about anything except the fun stuff.

But snow on a pine bough, even in the gloomiest of afternoons, will cause you to stop and breathe, and right there in a flash, feel gratitude for this spinning earth and the magnificence of the natural world. Sure, I still miss all that I miss, but here I’ll grab on to the easy gifts and smile freely. The party will wait, because right now, I am walking deeper into the dark and unknown world that is whispering in green.

Returning home all is lit up colorful and bright. For now, this small world will have to be enough and tomorrow’s antics will have to wait.

Light your first Hanukkah candle tonight and keep them coming. Regardless your faith, shine bigger than you intended. Guaranteed, the glow will be appreciated by all of us returning from the dark.

5 thoughts on “Carpe Diem

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