David Bowie & stop the clocks
Morning all. The on the spot shrine to David Bowie in Brixton around the artwork by James Cochran continues to draw the crowds as flocks of people gather to wonder at how is Bowie no longer here? Loss is ever thus, the huge gap of something that was utterly tangible turned into a memory sometimes as quickly as the blink of an eye.
I have often dealt with loss by throwing myself into my life but of late I’ve been thinking around a new life instead. I wonder if the passing of a person, or the impending journey of supporting a terminally ill close tie to you, is an opportunity to have something new be born in you?
The recent deaths of famous musicians at a relatively early age has brought into focus how illness basically is the compass to our lives. ‘Carpe diem’ was famously translated by the late great Robin Williams in the brilliant ‘Dead Poets Society’ from the Latin as ‘seize the day’. Look deeper and the extended version of this phrase and you find it as ‘carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero’ which actually translates as ‘pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future’. It adds even more urgency to making our moments count.
Of course such attention to the seconds is all well and good when you have clarity of mind, health, a modicum of happiness. It’s pretty easy you may assume to find peace when your responsibilities are numbered closer to zero than a hundred say. The great teachers such as Horace who gave us the full Carpe Diem quote may well talk to us about stripping our life of all we can to allow only the pure to remain. It sounds great but in reality is hard to find. Horace for example had a troubled life in a troubled empire when plucking each moment was as much about not being sure you were going to get another one. As our Great War poets knew so well, life is indeed immeasurably precious.
So how do we come to terms with the gap of loss, with our inability to stop the clocks and keep our great ones secure in a time warp that means they never die? I’m convinced that some of the the answers lie in the continual reaching out to our world and keeping yourself open to new possibilities, like a newborn being enriched by the awakening of life all around.
Enrichment is what I need and I’m off to find it. Have the best of days.