Thoughts on the Value of Life
Reflection on Aging
On Seeing a Log Fire Start
Thirty rings mark the years time
has hard-pressed into record
as a kind of diary for those
who care to see, while
Thirty years are marked with rings
more inward as the secret journal
of one whose hopes conspire
by conflagration to be set free.
Moment’s blaze turns to hour’s ash
within the confines of the night
and somewhere amid the
lost or hidden rings is an answer,
as to which has gained or lost the more?
May, 1973 (revised, 2001)
[campground, N. Myrtle Beach, SC]
There's something about the out-of-doors that prompts reflection and internal musings. That's true, whether you're at the sea shore or among giant redwoods, standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon or on the summit of one of the highest mountains in the Rockies.
Perhaps its the size difference between us single human beings and the world of nature around us. Or, as was the case with this poem, it was the passage of time and the dwindling embers of a campfire late in the night that brought about deeper thoughts.
What moves you to reflect on your mortality . . . on the significance (or its lack) in your life to date? Mystics over the centuries mused about the big issues, and monks (especially those in the East) have used deep and prolonged meditation to come to grips with their place in the gigantic scheme of things.
It's worth taking a little time now and then to consider where we fit in it all, and what we have (and hopefully will still) contribute to those around us and to the grand scheme of life.