Friday, December 01, 2006

Fall and Finitude

My oldest son commented recently, "Mom, it's hard to believe I've only experienced 14 autumns. It's just weird to think I can put a number on it like that."

It does seem rather strange to think of the finite number of times we have experienced any given season or event - whether it be autumn or summer or Christmas or Thanksgiving.

A. E. Housman (1859-1936) was thinking along the same lines over a century ago:
Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

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