This has been a week of transitions and one where the brevity of life has been exposed more than usual. A very fine Haiku poet, Svetlana Marisova, died this week of brain cancer. I had known her for only a short time and even then only through NaHaiWriMo's Facebook page, but even as a novice I recognized the magnificence of her writing. I was most surprised to learn that she was only 21 at the time of her death. Some have already called her the best haiku poet in any language in the last 150 years! She has left us a remarkable legacy.
And then a friend had to say farewell to a beloved dog after 16 years. Further my own Sasha is not doing very well and I have no clue how much of a future is still in store for us.
Obviously these are very different passings or projected passings, but the point is that for all species, life is a short and fleeting event. Some species by their very nature live longer; others live only a few hours. Some are able to live their allotted time frame; others have their lives cut short by illness, accident, war, etc. But in all cases, even for those who live a relatively long time, the fact is that everything will one day die.
We tend to fear death, which is natural in the first place, and an inborn survival mechanism for the species in the second place. But the reality is that life and death are just flip sides of the same coin. Life on this planet is eternal (or so I hope unless we as a species manage to kill off Mother Earth) and I suspect there is life elsewhere in the universe. Life will continue in the big picture, but not for the individual.
At this time of year, with fall approaching, we can easily see Nature's natural rhythms of birth and death. I used to dread winter especially as everything seemed so dead. And humans have set up a frenetic pace of life around the Winter Solstice as if trying to deny that we are also carbon based life forms and we too need to slow down and do our "cave work" in the winter, just as the rest of nature does, resting and regenerating for spring.
All of life is cyclical and our time here in this world is limited. This is not meant to be morbid, but simply to recognize the very nature of the universe at large. Recently a blog I follow had a post entitled Kittens and Death and the writer's point was just that. Every relationship we have, big and small alike, will end. What does this mean? It means I think that I need to acknowledge that and then live to the fullest, in the present moment, noticing what is going on around me, treasuring my companions along the way, looking up from my quilting to notice the birds foraging outside my window or the butterflies flying past, enjoying every moment with my four-legged companions knowing that I will in all likelihood outlive them, enjoying the good along with the bad, simply being present and aware.
That is not a very simple task, but it is one that I for one need to remember, and weeks such as this one, bring the point home and give me a chance to reflect and remember to stay present. The past is gone and I have no idea what the future holds, but I know I have this moment right here right now, and that is more than enough.