I went to a lovely Yin class recently and the theme of the meditation was spring, renewal and decluttering the mind. It got me thinking about this poem by Philip Larkin. You can feel his jealousy as the trees are permitted to start again, get a second chance, while we all have to age. And yet, maybe that is, in fact, the trick and nature has all the wise and clever answers. Yes we age but we can always start afresh. While everything ages, while time moves forward, we can take heed and also be brave enough to change and start anew.
But he also acknowledges that there is a certain grief in change. Just look at a photo from 20 years ago and that pang of nostalgia will leave a stain on your heart. Where were you? What were you so worried about? Did you ever imagine it would come to this? How could time be so cruel and rob us so?
I have been thinking a lot about time and change. In this strange Covid world that we are living in, it seems time is frozen, or at least we are. But time is still moving and we are changing even if we are stuck, trapped perhaps, in our homes, the places we are living. On the one hand I want time to hurry up so that this can all be over and we can be free to see loved ones and travel. But in the speeding up of time we are also asking to age, to miss out on the present and to be looking away from where we are.
With spring comes rebirth, the start again, of the inevitable cycle. But with spring also comes the knowledge that it will be short lived and our lives will spin and change and age, whatever we do with it.
Mary Oliver asks “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” And I ask “what will you miss if you are looking too far into the future?”
So begin afresh, be wild and embrace this one and only precious life. Focus on the here and now and notice what is changing.
Something to ponder:
What can you learn from the trees?
If you want to hear a beautiful recording of Larkin reading this poem accompanied by some clever animation you can watch it here.