A Bit of Philosophizing
No, it's not snowing here. But this photo fits the part of the poem that I'm including in this post. It's called On the Flood Plain by Al Purdy, a Canadian poet. The entire poem is longer, and contains some possibly offensive language. It speaks of time and our relationship to time in the form of a man's thoughts standing on the edge of a frozen lake in the wintertime.
It's a poem I've come to love because I think it reflects so much truth. And it comforts me. I think about where I am in life and where I'd like to be and I can panic at the thought that there is just not enough time to do or become all that I would like. I have to choose. The best over the good. The excellent over the mediocre. I look back over what I've accomplished in life and can easily think, "I wasted this or that opportunity." But life is a mixed drink of laughter, tears, leisure, work, expenditure and restoration.
And who but God can judge whether time is spent well or poorly. I can, to a certain measure. But whereas some may suggest that time spent reading a novel is wasteful, I know that when life threatens to overwhelm, such a retreat is restorative and I emerge from that escape ready to face reality once again. Playing with paints and fabric offers me the same restorative effect.
Ultimately, it's the moments that count. Living fully in each moment, whether it be full of pain or joy. Each moment is enhanced or reflected by others, we cannot live in isolated chunks of time. I stand, you stand, in a point in time with the continuum of history behind us and eternity stretching ahead of us. In the poem there is a seamless interaction of stars and frozen water that provides an idealized image of life's moments.
As a human being moving through the landscape of time, connection is established between the past and the present in moments of deliberate attention. The past still lives and gives meaning to the present when humanity is aware of the importance of the present moment and its fleeting nature. The phrase “and there will be time” conveys a confidence in the future that is based on intentional choices in the present. As moments of significance increase in number they will, like the stars, reflect each other and give meaning to all of life.
Whatever I have not discovered and enjoyed
is still waiting for me
and there will be time
but now these floating stars on the freezing lake
and music fills the darkness
holds me there listening
--it's a matter of separating these instants from others
that have no significance
so that they keep reflecting each other
a way to live and contain eternity
in which the moment is altered and expanded
my consciousness hung like a great silver metronome
suspended between stars
on the dark lake
and time pours itself into my cupped hands shimmering
taken from On the Flood Plain by Al Purdy