"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Times

Laguna Beach Nursery and Garden Center, California
Don't let anyone tell you that autumn doesn't come to Southern California!
These are without a doubt the most amazing pumpkins and
the most beautiful harvest displays that I've seen all season!

"Ada had tried to love all the year equally . . .
Nevertheless, she could not get over loving autumn best . . . "

~ Cold Mountain
~ Charles Frazier ~


Only three days 'til Halloween, that mystical half - way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Like Frazier's Ada, I too have a heart that favors fall. In fact, one of my favorite poets, Lee Perron, claims that even Time loves autumn best:

Fall Arrives
Fall arrives, time’s most favored season—
at last the heart, the mind loosens its fist
so that I no longer need to know who I am

I return to the hills and the great presences—
light, heat, clouds, the bull pines—
to recover for myself the purity of the falling world
to enfold it like a pearl in the mind’s silence

I read the calligraphy of the oaks against
the fading skies, the grass bending in the meadow,
the last robins— I’m a circle reaching
the first place for the first time

for in youth among fall leaves I refused
to acknowledge the ancient writing—
that the basket of summer empties, that
the hours of men are as wind-driven clouds—
and yet among fall leaves
I was overjoyed with the beauty of loss

now I stand on autumn’s wooded knoll
that my life too may vanish,
that night may fall into the earth’s arms

time is calling her trout
from their playgrounds in the sea
to river mouth, and redemption, and fury

it is by means of the long delay
that we come to the righteousness of passion.

by Lee Perron
Contemporary American Poet & Antiquarian Bookseller

Fall: a season that sets the heart free! The end and the beginning of everything: "the falling world . . . a circle reaching / the first place for the first time." Perron's seasonal poem shows us that Life is what we do with Time. I'm also thinking of these philosophical lyrics from Janis Ian, appropriate to any time of year:
These aren't the best times
These aren't the worst times
But these are my times
I never asked for more

~ Janis Ian ~

Ummm, okay, maybe there were a few times when I asked for more -- maybe for a longer "fall than in these parts a man is apt to see." However, in retrospect I can that Janis Ian is right. More is not necessary. Just enough is plenty. As I remember telling our neighbors when we moved from the city: Thanks for the good times, sorry for the bad (there were some bad). Maybe not the best times, maybe not the worst, but they were our times. In those days, the Eagles were our team, and the Schuylkill was our river. Now, it's the Boilermakers and the Wabash. As Stephen Stills recommended back in the 70s, "Love the One You're With":

Don't be angry - don't be sad
Don't sit crying over good times you've had . . .
Love the one you're with

This song came to mind a couple of weeks ago when Michael Lipsey, who kindly shares his daily epigrams and fanciful collages, posted this one:

Why does the Little Prince love the Rose? Because she's his rose, on his planet. I guess it's the inverse of "bloom where you are planted" -- something along the lines of "wherever you are, love what blooms." In Philadelphia, we loved our youthful side - street ginkgo trees; in West Lafayette, we love our aged front - yard oak tree. Love the one you're with! Even the Bible says so:

"These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. . . . Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare" (Jeremiah 29:1, 5-7; English Standard Version).

These are your times; you needn't ask for more. Not the best times; not the worst times; but your times. Current rock lyrics by Green Day offer similar advice, with a creative twist and a memorable tune, encouraging the listener to make the best of this "test" . . . don't ask why . . . have the time of your life:

Time of Your Life
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

song by Billie Joe Armstrong

One final connection. As with all of the other readings posted here -- Charles Frazier, Lee Perron, Janis Ian, Stephen Stills, Michael Lipsey, the Little Prince, the prophet Jeremiah, and Green Day -- this Desiderata - like meditation on the "secret of contentment" again started me humming, "Love the one you're with." Want what you have . . . make do:

How To Make A Beautiful Life
Love yourself.
Make peace with who you are
and where you are at this moment in time.

Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying in this noisy world,
make time for yourself. Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Try. Take chances. Make mistakes.
Life can be messy and confusing, but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path may be a stepping stone.

Be happy. When you don't have what you want,
want what you have. Make do.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to make your own day.
To know where you're going is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been too.
And if you get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time
and with all the goodness and grace
that's inside of you.
Make a beautiful life...
The kind of life you deserve.

by Unknown Author
Posted on facebook by The Optimism Revolution
[Thanks to Jason Dufair for sharing this link!]

The Little Prince, Tending His Rose

Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, November 14th

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my shorter, almost daily blog posts

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  1. Again (maybe I should begin saying 'as always'), you've touched upon so many things and 'thinks' to which I can relate so well. Bless you, dear Kitti, for sharing and taking the time to remind me of the things I should be spending my time pondering! (I know I've confessed to being a 'fall-aholic', but how did you know that de Saint-Exupéry's darling book is one of my life-long favorites? And that I spent my college years listening to Janis Ian's sentiments and laments?) <3 the California autumn pics!