A Matter Of Death And Life

Q: If I am twice as old as I once was, but only half as old as I hope to become, how old am I?

A: Old enough to know better.

Of all the things I was told as a kid to believe were important, or worse yet, would be on my permanent record, nothing has ever come close to being as true as a poem I had to memorize when I was a senior in high school. It was really only the last stanza of a very long dirge, Thanatopsis and neither grumblings nor excuses deterred my teacher, Mrs. Smith, from requiring it to be recited directly to her by each student. She sat there listening, probably thinking, ‘god I need a drink – when is this year going to be over?’

Mrs. Smith was the English teacher, guidance counselor and business education (typing/shorthand) teacher. Yeah, that’s right, shorthand. It’s part of my obsolete skills collection. I have a complete set.

My seat was near her desk, and I too listened as one by one my classmates took their turn. I heard Mrs. Smith calmly say things like, “annunciate” “pause” and sometimes even “Why don’t you just try again tomorrow?” So, I knew what she was listening for and by the time it was my turn, I nailed it. Cold.

THANATOPSIS

by: William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan which moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain’d and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Schools out! It’s Friday! It’s JUNE! What does that mean?

Time to celebrate my mid-life. No crisis. No regrets.


Click up there to hear a great classic while you scroll through these photos.

Paul Simon is awesome. iTunes is awesome. WordPress is awesome. Flowers are awesome.

Nikon cameras are awesome. English is awesome. Life is awesome. Birthdays are awesome.

Upgrades are awesome. How overused is the word awesome?

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5 Responses to A Matter Of Death And Life

  1. Hala J. says:

    You take AMAZING photos. Absolutely amazing. I daresay “AWESOME” photos actually. And yes, awesome is rather overused but it’s one of those words that encompasses everything, so it’s rather difficult to discard it entirely…at least it is for me, heh. But really I wanna go to where those flowers are, sit among them, and just…be.

    That poem was lovely, by the way. I’m gonna look up the rest of it soon!

    • Honie Briggs says:

      You are soooo right. I catch myself saying awesome quite often. Sometimes in a sarcastic way when my husband tells me something I don’t want to hear. AWWWWEESSSOOOME. Thanks for the compliments. Appreciated, always, always. I know what you mean about being among flowers. L O V E it! Some of these photos were at my house, but most were taken in gardens of friends or places I’ve been lucky to visit. I think there is a link to the complete poem if you click the word Thanatopsis. Warning***it is a long poem.

  2. Impower You says:

    Honie is awesome.

  3. Wow! What beautiful pictures the colors are incredible so full of life! Is this in your garden? I would love my garden to be like this :)
    Adriana

    • Honie Briggs says:

      Thank you, Adraina. A couple of the photos are of my garden. Most are of my friend Susan’s garden. She’s an award winning, rock star gardener, and I too would love for my garden to be like hers. It was nice of you to comment. I will pass along your compliment to her.

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