A New Summer is Offered Me

June 29, 2012

Leaves of a yellow buckeye tree

“This is June, the month of grass and leaves. The deciduous trees are investing the evergreens and revealing how dark they are. Already the aspens are trembling again, and a new summer is offered me. I feel a little fluttered in my thoughts, as if I might be too late. Each season is but an infinitesimal point. It no sooner comes than it is gone. It has no duration. It simply gives a tone and hue to my thought.”
— Henry David Thoreau, journal entry June 6, 1857

How fleeting the seasons are.  How fleeting life is.  I read this quote in one of the blogs I follow called Anecdotal Evidence: A Blog about the Intersection of Books and Life.  At the time Thoreau wrote this passage in his journal, he would live only long enough to see four more Junes.

I often think about death and the brevity of one’s life.  Sometimes I think about writing a “Death blog” to share my collection of quotes and poems about this final passage.  I believe that thinking about my eventual death helps me to appreciate the time I have, helps me to stay focused on living each moment more deeply.

Summer seems like an odd time to contemplate death, but as we all know, people die every day.  Every year we unwittingly pass the anniversary of our deaths — we just don’t know the date yet.  Here is a poem that reminds us of that:

For the Anniversary of My Death
by W. S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what




5 Responses to “A New Summer is Offered Me”

  1. Martha Says:

    Thank you for posting the Thoreau quote. I work in a greenhouse and this really says it all for me. And I have fluttering aspens in my woods! I’ll keep this quote and use in my blog someday.

  2. Sallyann Says:

    I often think, and talk, about when my time is up … just to make sure that everyone knows there are to be no tears and they’re to send me off with a big party. 🙂

  3. mzuritam Says:

    Thank you for this post. I never thought about “the anniversary” of my future death. We do honor the days when our loved ones or famous people have died. I strive to live each day as if it were all I have, enjoying everything good.

  4. […] A New Summer Is Offered Me, June 29, 2012 […]

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