Friday 23 February 2024


Chatting with Derek on e mail this morning about sleeping - how long we sleep   Thinking about things after reading his e mail, I got into another 'stream of consciousness'(see yesterday's blog about such things) which has gone on all morning more or less.

I did the Mind Games, read my e mails, cursorily read bits of the Times which were not depressing, but all the time I was thinking on and off about the transitory nature of life. .

Last night I watched 'Dynasties' on BBC 2.   It was about Macaque monkeys and their way of life.   About who was the boss of the troop (always a male of course but then they are bigger and stronger and that is what matters in the animal world).  About how you really had to fight to be the boss and when you got there it was a constant strain to keep there.   You needed eyes not only in the back of your head but on each side too.  And when a male who was bigger/stronger/more wily picked the right moment it was very easy to be toppled off your perch.

Then this morning I read how the writer moved to the country almost 'on the spur of the moment' during Covid (time to really 'think about things'  for so many who were isolated) and I thought of Robert Frosts's 'The Road not Taken' (yes I have a 'Butterfly Mind') - how when we come to a metaphorical fork in the road we have to decide which fork to take - often having to make a quick decision rather than pondering on it for days.   And how such decisions can in an instant alter the whole course of our lives.

And as Priscilla and I did our 'fineweather' circuit of my garden in chilly sunshine I stood and watched my first bumble bee of this year as he investigated every flower then moved on.   Hopefully he would find pollen,    enough work to keep him going to get back 'home' before he ran out of steam - otherwise at this time of the year it would mean the end for him.

And I thought about what a short time we are here in the giant scheme of things.   How the tiniest of decisions - pondered on for days or made in an instant - moves us on to the next stage in our lives.

Here we all differ don't we.    Some of us think hard at a fork - shall I do this or shall I do that?   Others go headlong into a new adventure - go to the Antarctic,  climb Everest, go to Glasto, move house, decide to marry (or these days 'shack up with), change careers, row the Atlantic.   the list of possibilities is endless and often we make the wrong choice.   But it all builds up to a life lived.

We are transitory beings - flitting from flower to flower, deciding where to settle and I suppose hoping for the best of outcomes.  And then  one day we are gone.   And in a couple of generations we are forgotten - that is unless we have written a book or won Wimbledon, or fashioned a beautiful garden or a fine building, or 'ruled' a country or some such.

Or to quote Macbeth we are mostly poor players who strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are heard no more'.

I suppose the moral of all this rambling is - don't look back and regret - move on and enjoy every minute.



Debby said...

I think that a rut people fall into sometimes is spending too much time looking back and being quite certain that if they'd taken a different path, their life would have been better. Seeing their life as the result of one wrong turn. But the thing is, we can't go back and change our path. However, we can go forward from where we are. While we still breathe, there is time to make changes.

I love your butterfly mind.

John Going Gently said...

Yes the butterfly thoughts are beautifully explained
Ripples in a pool
My blog today was a totally selfish romp
My head couldn’t take your gentle meander today
Dear weave xx

Barbara Rogers said...

I do enjoy your memories of times gone by...after all you are the keeper of this wonderful long life you've had. And of course you're right about not dwelling in the past, just having some visits like a friend coming to call. Decisions are easy enough to make, but my personal handicap is putting them into practice. Missed the gene of discipline somehow along the way.

Sue said...

A brilliant and very thought provoking post Pat.

You sent me off into a dream-world for a few minutes thinking of all the forks I have taken and the few that I have blogged about. A New Life in the Country, decided on after a ten minute lunch conversation and the offer of a house to do it in before we had time to change our minds. A move to another country ... don't mind if we do, then a move to a static caravan, then to a small town. The forks keep appearing and I keep taking them. Life is good when it's varied, but it's also good for some when it's stable and you have the time to notice the minutiae of the world around you. I hope you have a good weekend. xx

Mary said...

Wonderful words dear Pat - I'm printing this post out so I can keep it close by. I will reread it often.
I've made a lot of decisions in my lifetime - and yes, I was one of the ones who actually did go to Antarctica! I advise anyone who ever has this chance to go, go, go - you will never regret it!
Meanwhile here we all are, doing what we do to keep going, and as you so wisely say, moving on and enjoying every moment. . . . . hopefully!
Happy weekend dear, so glad you are back here writing.
Mary ~

Derek Faulkner said...

Wow, that is a pretty thought provoking post Pat and one that should be compulsory reading for all manner of people and although you encourage us to look forward, it's probably caused many of us to look backwards at our lives.

Ellen D. said...

Goodness, this is the second post I have seen this morning talking about bees and flowers and pollen. David Attenborough was explaining and when he says anything at all I always believe him!
Here's the link if you want to listen:

I have regretted decisions I have made in the past but you and the commenters are right that I should just look forward to opportunities in my future, however long that may be...

Librarian said...

Your words echo some of what was said today at a funeral I was attending. The non-religious speaker did a wonderful job of making us think of the woman who had died recently, how she had lived her life and what impact hers had on ours. Of course, at such events I can not help thinking of the beloved people in my life who I had to say good-bye to in the past years, but it was remembering them in a good way.

Decisions are part of our daily lives, some make more of a difference than others; for some, we allow ourselves a lot of time and deliberation, while others really are spur of the moment. Thinking back about the past five decades during which I made conscious decisions about my life, I can't say I have many regrets. Even when what I thought was a good idea at that moment turned out not to be good, I still learned something from it.

Susan said...

All so very true. Life with no regret is best. Your post triggers my thinking about fate and self-determination or free will. As you state, we are all different but both fate and free will factor in. A friend recently said he felt fate drove his life. I disagreed and feel it is a mix of both.

thelma said...

I rest content in the life that I have, accepting also that sadness has been a part of it.

di said...

Thanks for this! One recognises truth when you hear it.

Barbara Anne said...

Another brilliant life lesson for us, thanks to you and your butterfly thoughts, dear Pat!

DS1 (Z) met his wife (L) when both volunteered to be part of a team going to Houston TX after a hurricane about 15 years ago. They worked in the same big box store, but in very different locations, and were on the same bus traveling from Georgia. While in Houston, the volunteers staffed a local store so the regular staff could be home, cleaning up after the hurricane. By the end of the week, Z and L had found each other and have been together ever since. What were the chances of that happening?


gmv said...

Thank you for your life advise. I am absorbing it for the future and even now.

Catriona said...

Another wonderful post and I so agree with you. Onward each day and always something new to enjoy like you with your bee tiday. Catriona


Your message resonates deeply, urging us to embrace each moment with gratitude and to forge ahead with purpose and joy. Thank you for sharing your introspective journey with such eloquence and insight. By the way, I just posted a new blog entry, and I'd love for you to check it out!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat, Wonderful post! The poem by Robert Frost is one of my favorites. On a self-guided tour of gardens in Michigan my son and I quoted it in unison when we had to choose which path to take about halfway into the walk. I treasure that memory. When I ask myself if I have any regrets in my past, I honestly don't because , when I think of something I would like to have changed, I realize it would change other things that I would never give up. Jackie

Anonymous said...

I like stories where decisions have a 'meant to be' connection.
A long time ago, I had to decide between two universities, and it was easier proximity that determined the choice for one.
There I met my husband, and it's been a good marriage for over 40 years.
About ten years into the marriage we found our great grandparents once lived next door to each other and were very close, helping each other out with large families, their boys in the First World War together in France. Nobody, including my husband's living family knew this. It was a lovely discovery in a genealogy book that came our way.
I'd like to think all of this was more than just coincidence.
My ancestors are never forgotten, and I know most of their stories and good and bad decisions abound in these tales.
The big decision for most was to emigrate as free settlers here (vs. convicts - no choice from a bad decision) from places such as Ireland, Germany and England in the mid to late 1800's, across vast seas. Very brave and adventurous, births and deaths a glaring fact on these sailing ships.
Funny to think our very existence is determined by others choices. - Pam, Aust.

Tasker Dunham said...

The earth if 450 Billion years old, and will last around the same again, by which time it will have been swallowed up by the expanding sun. 450 Billion! In the small proportion of that when human beings have been here, it has only completed a small arc of its orbit around the galaxy. The galaxy will continue long after the Solar System has exploded. The universe will continue long after our galaxy has gone. The numbers are from memory and may be a bit out, but generally right. Think of that. Cosmic time. That is how insignificant we are.

Red said...

Our choices are a gamble. As in Frost's poem we have little evidence but we have to make a choice. So some things in our life work and some do not.

Cro Magnon said...

Stop a child in the street and ask who came before King Charles. Even the most famous people in the world are soon forgotten.