Tempus fugit : make the most of every day
There are many forms of poverty; many of wealth. During the past year, walking through the streets of Victor-Beaudry Village, I have greeted my neighbours, and I have learned the sometimes-subtle difference between wealth and poverty. Learning is wealth, even in adversity. I have found that wealth exists in what we share in our community. Wealth can exist in the awareness we acquire of our own society, in the people we meet.
Québec poet Émile Nelligan wrote in the poem Soir d’hiver: Ah ! comme la neige a neigé !
Ma vitre est un jardin de givre. giving us his observation of his world. I interpret his words as an enticement for us to observe our world. He was speaking of learning. Nelligan was writing of wealth.
In 1667 the English poet John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. As with Nelligan, Milton is asking us to learn, even during adversity.
I do not view these statements as impartageable; they are not incongruous. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to learn, to observe our environment. Milton’s pragmatism and Nelligan’s observance are not rhetorical.
In Greek mythology Teiresias is the Seer of Signs: he saw what others could not; he also had the gift of foretelling the future. The American songwriter Tom Petty sang: ‘The good old days may not return.’ Teiresias is central to this argument of observance and learning, as are Petty’s words. I am not able to foretell the future, but I do know that the person I was who came into this pandemic is not the same one who will leave it. I have learned. Learning is essential: knowledge is essential.
The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung spoke of a collective unconscious. I propose we have all learned because each one of us has learned.
During my walks through Victor-Beaudry, I have also recalled Ernest Hemingway’s "six- word stories". I propose the following: We struggled. We endured. We learned.
What has the pandemic taught us? It has taught us to make the most of every day.
Thus we have all learned.
Gatineau (secteur Aylmer),