Carpe diem

As I headed home for lunch yesterday I had a carpe diem moment.

Shrub 1I am lucky to live a five minute walk to work through an old neighbourhood in Kingston. As spring has (gradually) unfolded I have enjoyed seeing bushes and trees and flower beds burst to life. It is really incredible that these same streets can be icy and cold and devoid of life in the winter months and then lush and green and fragrant in the spring.

I was startled by a cluster of great orange Oriental Poppies that were hanging over the edge of the sidewalk on Earl Street. I glanced at them as I walked by but continued on my way. They summoned up fond memories of similar flowers in my parents’ back garden 40 years ago. Twenty metres past the poppies I suddenly stopped. I realized that their beauty would be short-lived. Rain is forecast for the weekend. These stunning, delicate blossoms will likely lose many of their petals in the winds or rain or just with the passage of time. Their brilliance will be fleeting.

I returned to the flowers and stood for a moment to absorb their beauty and fragility and to recognize that this was one of those many delicious life moments that has to be savoured before it quickly passes, never to be relived like it was just then.

As I finished my walk home, I reminded myself to take notice of those moments more often.

Oriental poppy

Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC), more widely known as Horace, that has become an aphorism. It is popularly translated as “seize the day”. Carpe is the second-person singular present active imperative of the Latin verb carpō, which literally means “You pick, pluck, pluck off, cull, crop, gather, to eat food, to serve, to want”, but Ovid used the word in the sense of, “enjoy, seize, use, make use of”.[1] It is related to the Greek verb (carpoomae) καρπόομαι, (I grab the fruit, profits, opportunity), (carpos) καρπός=fruit of tree, of effort, etc. Diem refers to “day”. Thus, a more accurate translation of “Carpe diem” would be “enjoy the day” or “pluck the day [when it is ripe]” Wikepedia

2 thoughts on “Carpe diem

  1. Those big orange poppies ARE spectacular! I noticed a cluster myself… on William St., and marveled at their beauty. Speaking of Carpe Diem, we could have “carpe diem’d” yesterday, and gone to a sunny patio for a TGIF beer after work!! I thought of it on my way home… too late… and “carpe diem’d” myself off to Walmart to buy some top soil. Beer and conversation would have been much more fun! Oh well, maybe we’ll get another chance before we turn into fertilizer for the daffodils 🙂

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