The Meaning of Life: Change and Decay

I know I keep talking about the meaning of life on this blog. The preciousness of all of our times here on earth, including my own as I enter my autumnal days.

Today has been more of this, particularly reflective for me as I’ve spent much of it on Sarah’s autumnal allotment, itself changing and gently decaying now, long past the summer’s end as the year’s light declines.

In through the Secret Gate.

The light this afternoon being that particularly sharp, low in the sky light, that comes on sunny days just before we turn the clocks back.

Dogwood in the autumn light.

Bonfires of the summer’s growth all around us.

All the colours sharp like they’ve been turned up to maximum on some celestial control.

Like here, ‘Winter lights’ shard.

The garden going quietly to seed at the same time as next springtime’s magnolia blossoms wait patiently in their calyx. I walk around photographing the meaning of life. The joy and inevitability of the passing of time. The necessity of change, die-back and decay so that new growth, new life might take its own place, in turn, in its own time.

This many autumns into my own life I experience its beauty acutely. Knowing I have seen more of them than I have left to see. And at peace with this certainty.

At peace with this glorious beauty.

Grateful for this life.

For the change and decay that will always happen.

And for moments of sheer joy like this.

“When right here, right now,
In this perfect light in this perfect place
And knowing it full well as I take this photograph,
I am completely happy.
Not wanting to be anywhere else
I am close enough to touch the meaning of my life.
Which is be, here, now.”

Out of recent darkness, into perfect light. Be, here, now.

Time to sit and read in the afternoon sun then.

‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks.

I’d been sat on the wall in Sefton Park reading this earlier when a bee came and landed on the corner of the page. Getting warm, I think, in the reflected sunlight. The bees slowing down now as the light declines and the year grows colder. Every time I turned the page the bee would lift itself briefly into the air and then settle again on the new page while I read on. Twenty or so times this must have happened until it was time for me to walk on. At which point the bee was happy to be settled on the sunny wall.

All things must pass.

‘The last rose’ Sarah told me.

‘Only here’

The Gardener gets her fire going.

To boil the kettle for washing up before we leave.

As the garden changes and decays behind us.

Ready for winter. Ready for spring. Perfect.

I called this “Change and Decay” because it fitted with the autumn and what I wanted to talk about. But also because Sarah was walking around her allotment quietly saying “Change and decay.” What I didn’t realise, non-believer me, until I showed her the finished thing was that she was quoting her favourite hymn “Abide with me”

“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me”

6 thoughts on “The Meaning of Life: Change and Decay

  1. andhowe

    Loving your posts at the moment, Ronnie. And don’t allotments bring out the best photography skills? You’ve captured the light and atmosphere perfectly.

    Reply
  2. memoirsofahusk

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the images too.
    Right now, here, the sky is looking end-of-days and the birds have all vanished. Earth’s joys do look dim. Storm’s a comin’. But it will pass.

    Reply
  3. hirstsj

    Best photos ever. Music wonderful, playing as I write. Your posts are resonating with me. I’m 66, working still, but often reflecting on life and what’s important. Sally, again.

    Reply

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