November 28

Spring And Fall (To The Readers Of ATWN)

My favorite poem begins like this:

Margaret, are you grieving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

It’s a poem entitled “Spring And Fall (To A Young Child)” by Gerard Manly Hopkins, and it describes a feeling that most of us experience during these times–the mortality of everything.

As fall ends, and the winter months begin, we are keenly aware of the life cycle of the world, that things are born, grow, decline, then die.  Everything, every single thing, lives by this same cycle.

Think about this–the keyboard you type on?  That one you got with your new computer two years ago?  The one that is already out of date, and you’re thinking about selling to someone else so you can get you a new one?

When it was created, it wasn’t a thing.  It wasn’t an object.  It was a process.  It started brand new, a shiny little keyboard with so much possibility.  Maybe it would be the keyboard that the next greatest work of literature was typed on.  Maybe it would process a million spreadsheets.  Maybe it’d help someone email pictures of their kids all over the world.

It could have been all those things.  The only thing it wasn’t was stuck in stasis–it was beginning its life cycle.

One day, years from now, it will break, and whoever owns it will have to buy a new one.  That’s life.

Art follows the same cycle too.  Even though it lives beyond its creator, it still lives.  It still dies.  Even the most famous pieces of art fade.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at da Vinci’s Last Supper.

How many of you had heard of the poem I introduced this post with before you read the first two lines today?

Think of the songs of your youth.  How often do you hear them on the radio?  What about the songs of your parent’s youth?  Your grandparents?

Everything lives.  Everything dies.

As Hopkins said:

It is the blight man was born for

It is Margaret you mourn for.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.  Today is a day, in the middle of the blight, when we stop worrying and thinking about the process, the cycle of life, and take a moment to embrace gratitude.  Not because something will live forever–but because of fortune and fate, destiny and design, we were lucky enough to experience a cycle that happened at the same time as ours.

I am thankful for the members of All The Write Notes who have given me the opportunity to post here.  I am thankful for you who read our post, who share our passions.

I’m thankful that my cycle, my process, could involve yours.  And that I get to share mine with you.


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