SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM
“SIC TRANSIT” — (So passes….) I wrote about my baby cardinals nesting on my front porch light (“Henpecked”), from their hatching to their sudden going away; going on to a presumably happy adult cardinal life.
I’ve been watching another nesting family just ten feet outside my front door, in a birdhouse in a small tree. I’m fairly sure this was an Eastern Bluebird. The blue wings were s shimmering blue, very pretty in the sunlight. Her eyes, seen through binoculars, were larger than expected and quite vigilant. She was busy and attentive and faithful to her eggs and then to her hungry babies.
By the end of a few weeks I was really rooting for these little ones.
During these weeks we had Midsummer, the celebration of the Summer Solstice, when the sun ceases to “move” northward and begins its southward “journey” away from us in the Northern hemisphere, a movement which will eventually bring the longest, darkest days.
My Scandinavian heritage makes me very aware of this time of year.
Bonfires were lit (for various reasons, depending upon myths and legends) My Grandma’s Finnish word for this is kokko, with the K’s sounding more like a hard g sound. I remember this time of year as a time of fun outdoors in the dark, with roasting potatoes, hot dogs, and marshmallows in the little family fires dotted all around the main bonfire.
By the time I was young, the bonfire had drifted later to coincide with the Fourth of July — but the meaning was the same.: The Year Is Dying! From now on the days will become shorter, with respect to the amount of daylight. I don’t believe in evil spirits, witches or dragons (well, maybe dragons; who knows?) that rule this darker half of the year, but the darker things of life must be accounted to.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDUM
That’s the common Roman phrase. No matter how much we achieve in this life, the glory of the world will “pass away” with our own passing. Our lives, like each year, reaches a glorious climax with warmth and sun, but then turns the corner at the Solstice and approaches its own deep darkness of winter’s death.
Sir Walter Scott once wrote:
And come he slow, or come he fast,
It is but Death who comes at last.
No, that doesn’t have to be gloomy! It doesn’t even have to be scary. It is the way of all things. We all have a cycle.
My thought is: There is a world beyond, so live now in the company of those who live in which “world” you would want to live in forever. (As you can see, I am no Sir Walter Scott with a poetic tongue.)
Let me try it again: If you want to live forever with the God of Peace and Love and Beauty and Safety, then live with Him here, now. If you don’t care about Him now, then you certainly won’t live with Him then.
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA AVUM
Avum: the birds. I came home one day to notice more debris on the bricks in front of my porch, and thought “I’ll have to sweep those bricks again soon!”
But there was something “colorful” about that debris —
Upon closer inspection:
Small blue feathers were scattered all over. Too soon for molting. This is a sign of tragedy. Death to the little birds before they even had a chance to finish their little lives.
So soon their little lives “passed.”
In their place, an empty hole —
That was their home. For such a little while I watched that birdhouse swing with activity when Mama came home to feed the babies and when the babies got big enough to make it swing by themselves.
It feels “empty” around here. Empty-Gone.
Humans have always known that our lives are short and we are all just passing through. When the elderly Patriarch Jacob met the great Pharaoh of Joseph’s time, the Pharaoh asked him: “How old are you?!”
Jacob replied: “The days of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years . . .” (Genesis 47:9) Pilgrimage through life. Sojourning. Traveling. Passing through life.
We’re all “transiting.” There is much to enjoy here, birdwatching and bonfires, but we enjoy such things as we pass by, watching “out the window” as the vehicle of Time carries us on to the next world — a happy place for those who serve the King who is waiting for us.