Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WTF is "mellow fruitfulness?!?"

Song for this post: "There's Hope Yet" ~ Raised By Swans (the best band EVER)

Since it's been a main theme in my life, and now the lives of the people around me, I thought it worth discussing here:

I'll be 31 this year. And while my 30s are proving pretty great when it comes to physical things (I make more money, I have a great house, etc) and general relationships (My friendships are qualified, loving, mature friendships with solid foundations), I've suddenly become acutely aware of not just my utter failing in romantic relationships, but my own mortality as well. These are two themes that didn't really matter to me in my 20s. There would always be more relationships. There would always be another year. There would always be more chances. 

But that's not true and that fact has rooted itself in my mind and created both a renewed sense of urgency to experience it all and be a more genuine "Now-ist," as well as this quiet sense of desperation that's been growing inside of me like a cancer.

I heard somewhere once that spending chances is the worst kind of extravagance.

What if I never find love? What if I never have a family? What if my legacy dies with me and I never have the opportunity to raise beautiful human life? Why am I holding my existence up against this baseline as if that option is the only one that could possibly bring me life-fulfilling happiness? Why am I being such a cliche' and asking these existential questions in my 30s?

Here's the truth: When you are too focused on one thing, you miss out on everything.

Do I get lonely? Sure. Am I afraid that my life will have no meaning? Yes! I'm fucking terrified of death. But I'm also lucky, thankful, blessed, happy, inspired, and fucking excited about life and the people around me. As a type A personality, it's hard for me to "let go and let life." But really, was there ever any other option? Life happens. And NONE of us has any control over that. Scary thought, right?

Not really, when you step back. All it means is that the world is completely open to us.

We should all embrace it.

I hate John Keats, as we all know from this blog. But I really only hate him because he's so goddamn fluffy and obsessed with love and life and promises of good things to come that he makes me sad. Sad because of the theme of this blog post.

But he makes a good point in one of his odes.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
      Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
   Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
   Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
      The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The particular selection of this season implicitly takes up the themes of Keat's ode's of temporality, mortality, and change: Autumn in Keats’s ode is a time of warmth and plenty, but it is perched on the brink of winter’s desolation... The understated sense of inevitable loss in that final line makes it one of the most moving moments in all of poetry; it can be read as a simple, uncomplaining summation of the entire human condition.

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