It happens every seventeen years, for a few short weeks. Even the rain, finally falling, can’t stop it. The birds, like this Redwing blackbird at Huntley Meadows, seem to have found a new source of protein.
I was looking at some of the pictures I took in the last year an a half and this one caught my eye. Flowers, no matter how beautiful they are, always seem to have a lifespan. Even as it fades, you can see the beauty that once was. It didn’t wither because of lack of care. The garden was the beneficiary of abundant rainfall. The flowers were well taken care of. In their time, their beauty was a reflection of the warm sun that nourished them. And yet, as with all things, the flowers have an expiration date.
Each thing on earth has an appointed time. In its time in the sun, each flower provides beauty and sustenance. They may fade away, but each leaves a mark all its own. And come next spring, another set of flowers will sprout and grow. And like the flowers that came before them, they too dazzle the senses.
The circle of life. Mysterious. Essential.
As I gazed upon one year old twins, I think about my own youth. Once, I was the baby on the crib, nurtured by parents who provided for my needs, sheltered me from the elements, protected me from harm. As I grew older, they grew older and so it is with every person, of every generation. We are like the sun, first rising slowly, lighting a path on a dark planet. Slowly but surely it rises higher and higher, and soon enough it reaches its zenith. Then slowly it starts to sink towards the horizon and when the last light of twilight is extinguished, the world turns dark again.
And yet, I could not escape the thought the sun is but one star in the firmament. Each of us, as we grow older, as we climb higher in the horizon, begins to blot out other things in the sky. And yet, elsewhere in the heavens, other stars continue to shine. And I am heartened to think that each one of us, each of our ancestors, is a star. Even as our lives shine bright and we become the center of our universe and seemingly outshine other lights around us, the stars are always there. And so it is that I remember my father and mother, now gone. And grandparents. And uncles and aunts, and the many people who came before me, who came before them. In the evening, before I sleep, I look at the window and see the stars that are always there. They are never truly gone. And if we listen carefully, we can still hear the voices within them. They can still teach us. If we let them. In our dreams we are in some ways always children, always protected, always loved. Awake, we know that life and love are eternal, shining forever, in the heavens around us.