Saturday, March 3, 2018


Today was sunny yet cool, a day of amber-yellow angled light and of tree shadows stretching across bright green fields.  Walking beneath the bare trees, looking up into the intricate branches set against the sky, I was brought up short by a sudden realization:  the six decades that I have been alive have led to this single instant, an instant in which I am walking at the point of my still unfolding existence, all of those 60-odd years trailing behind me, disappearing, on a brilliant day in early March.

James McIntosh Patrick (1907-1998), "Glamis Village" (1939)

I claim no uniqueness for this moment of awareness.  But it did hit me with a fair amount of force.  There was nothing sorrowful or melancholic in what I felt.  If anything, the moment was one of exhilaration and peace.

A few moments later, a passage by Marcus Aurelius came to mind. Upon returning home, I found it:

"If thou shouldst live three thousand years, or as many myriads, yet remember this, that no man loses any other life than that he now lives; and that he now lives no other life than what he is parting with, every instant."

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book II, Section 14, in Francis Hutcheson and James Moor (translators), The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742).

James McIntosh Patrick, "Springtime in Eskdale" (1935)

Earlier this evening, a haiku by Kobayashi Issa returned to me:

     Under moon and flowers,
Forty-nine years
     Of fruitless wandering.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 4: Autumn-Winter (Hokuseido Press 1952), page 290.

Thus ends my report for today.

James McIntosh Patrick, "A City Garden" (1940)