By Yvonne Blackwood
The old adage, “Stop and smell the roses,” should be as poignant today as it ever was. God created a magnificent, awesome world for us human beings to live in, and He stocked it with every possible thing that we could need for survival. We are also assigned the number of years we are to occupy this earth.
According to the scriptures, our lives should last about threescore years and ten. Yes, yes, I know that we do not all belief this, but even if you don’t, take a look at our biology. You will observe that as soon as one approaches sixty (most of us) parts of our bodies begin to show wear and tear. But even more startling, sometimes the worn parts cannot be replaced or rejuvenated.
In 23 BC, Horace coined the expression carpe diem—seize the day! Life expectancy was shorter then, so he proclaimed that people should make the most of it. Later, in the 1600s, Robert Herrick wrote the poem, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time.” In it he advised them to:
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; …Then be not coy, but use your time, And, while ye may, go marry: For having lost but once your prime, You may forever tarry.”
In other words, do not hold on to your virginity; throw caution to the wind and live.
The average life expectancy in North America was less than fifty in the years prior to the 19th century; now we can irrefutably state that we are living longer. According to a 2014 article in USA Today, life expectancy in the USA is now 78.8 years. We no longer regard forty-five as middle-age, and we see a seventy year-old as fairly young. The improvement in life expectancy is a wonderful thing.
While this article is not necessarily advocating carpe diem, its purpose is certainly to encourage us to take time out to smell the roses. Take time to look around and truly admire and submerge ourselves in God’s creation.
In parts of North America, fall is a time when deciduous trees shed their leaves in preparation for the upcoming harsher winter weather. But before leaf-shedding takes place, a mystical changing of colour ensues. I took the opportunity to travel with two companions a few hundred miles to parts of Northern Ontario last week, simply to see the changing colours. Driving for miles and miles through roads surrounded by trees with leaves of yellow, orange, red, burgundy, brown, and colours in-between, intertwined with green-leaf evergreens, provided a spectacular view. We kept shouting, “Look over there! Look over there!”
As I devoured the scenery, I said to my companions, “I wonder how many people ever have time, or take the time to do a trip like this?” We debated that maybe not many had done it, that most people were too busy with work, and home, and children, and all the other activities that are a part of life. We contented ourselves that we are the lucky ones. We are retired. We have time on our hands. But were those the reasons why we embarked on the road trip? Categorically NO.
Although retired, we are busier now than when we worked full-time! We help out with babysitting our grandchildren, we sit on demanding Boards and Committees, we do charity work, and we are involved with our individual interest groups. Free time is at such a premium for us, it took some juggling of schedules to arrange the trip. We went on the trip, driving miles and miles for several hours, because we appreciate what the creator has made for us; we wanted to see more of His work in action. We wanted for a few hours, at least, to stop and smell the roses.
Do you have a favourite fall photo to share?