Sunday, 24 June 2012

Gathering Rosebuds

Life is precarious. It doesn’t matter how hard we work, or how carefully we plan, things will go wrong. A lot of the time we find ourselves surrounded by hassles and worries, or filled with boredom and tedium.  Sometimes it’s much worse – a severe accident, a life-threatening illness, or the untimely death of someone we love. So when we have glimpses of happiness, it is good to cherish and celebrate them.
Robert Herrick, 17th century poet, urges us to make the most of the good times while we can:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.

I’ve gathered a few fine rosebuds, this last week or so.
Last weekend was the big cycle ride from Carlisle to Liverpool (the reason for my two previous posts about cycling uphill).  Getting over Shap summit despite driving rain and a strong head wind was wonderful. Cruising the nine miles downhill to Kendal was even better. Exhilaration, feeling alive –all that and more.  Two rosebuds at least.
A bonus of distance cycling is that you can eat as much as you want, in fact you have to, to keep your energy up.  So slap-up breakfasts, mid-morning stops for double ice-creams and hot chocolate.  More rosebuds. Calories, who’s counting?
At the half way point, the entire family turned out to greet us. An evening with all my children and grandchildren, together in the same place.  A whole heap of rosebuds there.

This week Sue and I’ve been in Ireland, taking part in a GP conference in Kilkenny. Before that we had a couple of days over in the west, including a drive to Spanish Point, on County Clare’s Atlantic coastline.  Hard to believe it was midsummer’s day: wet, windy and cold. But it was beautiful, in a wild sort of way. We sat there for an hour or so, well wrapped up, eating apples and soda bread, watching four girls learning to surf, and listening to the waves breaking on the shore.
On the drive back the sun broke through the clouds, and I remembered Van Morrison’s wonderful song Coney Island. So, with apologies to Van, here’s my final rosebud:
I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes streaming through the window in the summer sunshine. And all the time coming from Spanish Point, I’m thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time.”

Gathered any rosebuds yourself recently?