I’ve always saved programs from memorial services.
But as I leafed through them on a quest to discard old keepsakes, I stumbled upon this poem, written by a dear friend of mine who died alongside his wife in a tragic car accident nearly five years ago:
I remember all the seasons past
the tides that have ebbed and flowed.
The journeys taken round the sun
in search for pots of gold.
I squandered all my youthful strength
in a futile search for fame,
then tried to buy it back again
with mindless, puerile games
I wandered all around the world
to see each port of call.
I wined and dined with kings and queens,
and stood up proud and tall.
I thought I’d found the best of life
with riches left untold,
then realized the emptiness—
like sand so hard to hold.
And all the while the river flowed
and emptied in the sea,
which the sun would gather to its breast
in calm tranquility.
By the time I’d learned the theme of life
and begun to hum its tune—
the summer passed, the fall began,
and winter came too soon.
-D. Park, 1934-2006
Nothing like a little reminder of the brevity of human existence to shake up a Saturday night.
Though this man and his lovely wife died in their seventies, they were full of energy. For them, winter did indeed “come too soon,” as it does for anyone that dies, I suppose.
Which got me thinking.
In the past year, I’ve experienced more losses than I can begin to describe. I have wasted precious days on journeys “round the sun in search for pots of gold.” And, I wonder lately if I, at 27, am squandering “my youthful strength” with “mindless, puerile games.”
So, in honor of Mr. Park and his lovely, vivacious wife, I’m taking a step back, reassessing my choices and pondering my future.
I’ll be around. Just give me a moment to relearn “the theme of life.”