As for Man, his Days are as Grass

“As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.”

Accept what is, and sorrow can be made to vanish. Resign to blind fate, to the banal inevitabilities of life and calm soon descends.

At a certain age, your time has come. Those around you begin to fail at a quickening pace. Now more than ever the temptation is to grasp at what is left, to cling, to fear. To dread even.

But it is at just such a time that letting go becomes increasingly necessary.

Think of it perhaps as a “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.” Embrace the apparent absurdities with which you are confronted every day and see instead the beauty of the clockwork universe on its way round. And around and around. Night following day, death life. Endless creation and re-birth. Infinite variety and breathtaking beauty.

Suns and flowers, gentle winds and the raging heavens with holes which are black, no beginning, no end. See good not bad, beauty not decay. Rebirth and death, the endless dance of which you are but a small part.

Revel in the small things. The smell of freshly roasted coffee beans, the cry of the gulls against a blue sky. The wind on your face, the grains of sand falling through your toes as the soft sound of lapping waves on the shore strokes and soothes.

Does it matter then that you never achieved what you thought it was you wanted? That you failed to climb to the top of the greasy pole, that you retreated from the fray.

It does not, not when age has given you a crystal clarity as to what it’s all about. Not when time has put into perspective the vanity and vain struggles of a material world wrecked by the search for more, ever more.

Now is the time to cherish the earth and the skies too. To gaze in wonder at the Milky Way on a clear and moonless summer night. To listen to the insects chirping, the frogs croaking, the birds whooping and crying.

To thank good fortune that you never helped in the destruction you now so often see all around. To hope and pray that nature and beauty will someday soon come to be preferred to concrete and the doctrine of economic growth.

Savour it, savour it all while you may.

And if it all goes, does it matter? One small and rapacious species on a Goldilocks planet in the middle of nowhere. Not if, but when.

All around you shall pass, perhaps without regret. Perhaps with no one left to express it.

And so what have you learnt? How differently would you do things if all were to come round again? Not so very differently perhaps.

Give more, take less. Love, experience, grow in wisdom.

And cars and banks? Buildings and roads and cellphones? Piling up goods like a mindless ant builds his mound? No, none of that.

It is a good life, can you but see it. Be grateful then that at last you have been granted the power of sight.

11 Comments

  1. Thanks! This is really good. Even if this is only fleetingly achievable, it has a lasting impact. And the residual memory and impact can help bring about the perspective again. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kind words and thank you. For me, such a state has become more than fleetingly achievable. I am relieved and happy to say. But perhaps that is because I am old, isolated and quite well off. I therefore need have nothing to do with ghastly “bizniss” or the money grubbing banality of what most of the world has to put up with. Thanks god.

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  2. Dear Anthony,

    Wise words indeed! There is transcendence in your wisdom, which is commendable and appreciated.

    I would like to offer you the following statement by Robert Louis Stevenson:

    We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.

    Happy August to you!

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sublime post sir. I read this after posting this morning and reflected instantly that yes all is not bad, but a lack of physical interaction and cultural exchange (as travellers) inhibits our human experience which is a real shame for those who do not have the same number of years under their belts like the old folks like us 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very kind. Happily I seem to live and feel this way more and more these days. It’s not that I don’t give a fuk, its just that I realise we are stuck with the shitty 1% ers and it will probably always be thus. Greensil, business and government corruption, crooks on the left and the right of politics.

      So I have given up and live in quiet isolation. Divorced from the world and living in an ivory tower. Or cottage anyway.

      The only good to be found is among the “unworldly”. Carers. The better sort of clergymen. Those without egos, inflated desires or bloated ambition.

      Its a sick world (or at least the human aspect of this world) and the only thing to reasonably do in my case is to ignore it.

      It will pass, and so will I.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful reflection on what matters and an importatnt reminder of the need to re-evaluate the trends currently ensuing in the 21st century. Your thoughtful prose could only be enhanced in this case by a recording of your words spoken in your own voice. I could almost hear you speak them as I read along, and wished you had done so.

    In any event, my only reservation in the text was your descriptionn of the “mindless ants,” building their mounds. What you meant is clear enough–the mindless accumulation of trivialities–but the analogy does not do justice to the ants, who individually possess a tiny brain with around 250,000 neurons, but as a colony conduct themselves as a unified group with a much greater capacity for useful activity, relevant to their species. I know your intention was to comment on mindless actions by humans who should know better, and who each have a much greater individual capacity.

    Delightful read this one…hope all is well with you…John H.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your comments John and thank you. You are very generous. Funnily enough a while back I studied and programmed some AI algorithms based on nature – swarms of bees, ants, that sort of thing. A sort of collective consciousness emerges which can achieve great things. I recall such algos make a very good attempt at the famous travelling salesman problem for instance.

      On the broader themes , all, in a sense is well. As you have pointed out to me so many times, the world may appear to be evil and corrupt but the majority of people are well meaning and generous.

      I choose therefore to resign from the world and let the 1% do its worst. The African and Russian dictators. The torturers, the corrupt, the greedy and the venal. The greedy bizniss moguls.

      I prefer to concentrate on flowers and music and waves and birds.

      All will pass and it seems best to me to accept that and live my live in quiet isolation and peace.

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  5. Hi, Anthony. I have been wondering what happened to you as I have not seen blogs from you for some time. Glad to see you are still among us, but hoping you find something more permanent in life than “blind fate” and “banal inevitabilities of life.”
    Consider the words of the hymns when you attend Evensongs and trust that The God Who Is really IS, and He loves you as His own son. All He asks is that you trust in Him for eternal life.
    Speaking to a friend today, we shared that while some may reject Him and find themselves eternally separated from Him, because He is SOOO loving and hopeful for everyone’s salvation, I think He will grasp any shred of faith we offer Him, to grant us eternal life.
    I really hope Anita and I can join you in Evensong sometime, if we ever hop across the Pond again. You have been and remain in my daily prayers, my friend. c.a.

    “God shows much more of Himself to some people than to others – not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight has no favorites, it cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.” (C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity)

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    1. Lovely reply and thank you. CS Lewis is one of my favourite authors although I confess more Narnia than the more hardcore stuff. Yes indeed, I would love to attend evensong with you.

      I have been very quiet for a few months since I have been largely in “contemplation”. In a sense. Months of letting go. Weeks of listening and silence.

      Thanks you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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