Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I heard the harbingers of spring this morning...

I heard the robins singing as I was riding one of my bicycles in to work this morning. I thought I'd heard a faint warbling reach my ear last week, but wrote it off as a vain imagining as it was colder than the seventh layer of hell out--but today there is no doubt as to the closeness of the next season. It is true that the vernal Equinox is still some weeks away (think St Patty's + 4 or 5 days), but the birds don't lie as to the territories they are so vainly trying to screech out in our backyards (I always thought they'd sound much less charming if they had a Brooklyn accent and opposible thumbs--they could carry things liek bats and shout profanities in cognizant form instead of their lovely birdsong).

I love birdsong, in fact it is one of those "fillers" which are so painfully missing during the wintertime. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the winter. I am thaknful I am able to find wonder in each season, but the plaintiative chee-chee of a chickadee while on the lift during snowboarding trips is a tiny solo of the great cacophony of birdsong to come. Some birds sing alone during the winter, but their winter movement is minimalist to the sweet strains of spring.

I know, I am a hopeless romantic--or a dork, however you tend to bend.

I wanted to shift gears as I am leaving for 5 days for Grandmothers funeral. I wanted to post the poem I read at the Orem part of her funeral. It comes from Oliver Wendel Holmes, and the first time I heard it was in Prof Mike Robinson's Philosophy 1010 class 5 years ago. it has stuck with me ever since as it feels like a metaphor for our lives:

The Chambered Nautilus

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main,--
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,--
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:--

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94)

I will leave with this thought so perfectly illustrated by O.W.H.--ours is the life which is meant to grow. This place is but a small room in the vastness of our existence, a part of what we are, but not the whole.

Jay

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