Thursday, October 29, 2009

The World is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon

William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. -Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
Came across this Wordsworth poem -- actually a friend mentioned it to me as we were driving down the street and I Googled it on my smart-phone. (How's that for irony?)

But as so often happens, the thing perfectly described my situation -- and the situation that I've found myself operating in for the past several months now. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As we leave
behind bright October and enter grey November, my thoughts are directed toward the changing of the seasons in both the geographical sense and the allegorical. I observed my forty-seventh birthday last weekend with a hike in the woods. Now don't get me wrong -- I love the woods and I love hiking. (I even have some pretty cool videos I took with my cellphone of Cam and Maddie and Abby playing in a mountain-top pond.) See here:

But there's a certain attenuated sadness -- not depression, not even really unhappiness -- that wreathes my thoughts as we head down into the bottom of the year. There's a sweetness to my sorrow, a sort of melancholy that I find myself not running from but embracing instead and occasionally even stealing glances at from my mind's eye.

Maybe it's just middle-age. Maybe it's regret for the things I haven't accomplished yet. Maybe it's the season. Hell, maybe it's just plain old exhaustion. I don't know.

Anyone have a cure for the malaise of middle age?