When I Consider How My Light is Spent
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
--from John Milton's Sonnets, 1652?--
For some reason, I have always loved tidal pools. They represent a rest from the onslaught of time, but they are only a temporary respite, a place to catch one's breath. They are in-between areas. Most of my life has occurred in the in-between or interstitial places. I am always moving, sometimes by choice and sometimes not, but when the movement halts for a while I wait. I wait in traffic, on the phone while on hold, in the airport, on the plane, on the transport van, in the apartment. This jellyfish I found on Pensacola Beach Friday, my last day in Florida, would probably rather be moving freely about in the sea, doing its work of capturing prey and devouring it. The high tide has brought it ashore and deposited it in this pool. It waits until either the next tide takes it back to the sea or until the pool sinks into the sand and the sun and wind begin their dessicating work upon it.
This little man waits for no one. Before Sarah and I headed to the beach for my last look at the sea for a few months, we stopped by for a visit with Micah and his Grandma Martha. She takes care of him at his parents' home while they work.
He refused to ride in the stroller and insisted on stopping every so often to pick some wildflowers.
He and his dad's old dog Rocky led the way the whole time we were walking. Rocky suffers from arthritis in his golden years, but once he gets moving, he seems to be transformed to a pup again. I guess he takes his cue from his young master. I have noticed that some of my fellow bloggers are talking about the change of seasons, autumn, and dying, though not necessarily dying in the literal sense. This new season we are in, autumn, is another interstitial place, and I think that is why I like it so much. It is a time to rest, gather strength, and ponder the next growing season.
Another on the Same
Here lieth one who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move,
So hung his destiny never to rot
While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion numbered out his time,
And like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath.
Nor were it contradiction to affirm
Too long vacation hastened on his term.
Merely to drive the time away he sickened,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quickened.
"Nay," quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretched,
"If I may not carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetched,
But vow," though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
"For one carrier put down to make six bearers."
Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right
He died for heaviness that his cart went light.
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That even to his last breath (there be that say't)
As he were pressed to death, he cried, "More weight!"
But had his doings lasted as they were
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon, he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Linked to the mutual flowing of the seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase.
His letters are delivered all and gone,
Only remains this superscription.
--John Milton, 1631--
I like the fact that John Milton seems intrigued and maybe just a bit disturbed by the contradictions imposed by time with its incessant shifts between movement and then stillness, work and then idleness. It should not be surprising that he felt that way. He spent most of his life on a rather large island, surrounded by the sea.