Those words are "seize the day," or "carpe diem" in Latin. Somehow, they've worked their way into our mundane slog through January here at 20th and Grace streets.
Perhaps Tom and I have been more receptive to the message because of an ongoing discussion about his retirement. There has, after all, been a certain amount of "How long can I (you) endure in a job that no longer has joy?"
Into that conversation came news that one of Tom's former colleagues, younger than us, had died suddenly. "Carpe diem," I said into the phone when Tom called to share the news.
That same say, when I picked up our mail, I unfolded The Economist to see its headline, "Seize the Day."
The concept is by no means new, either in culture or to me. Horace wrote "carpe diem" in his Odes, and the idea in Hebrew translates to "If not now, when?" My first encounter was in studying 17th-century poetry.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying" (Robert Herrick, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time).
"Had we but world enough, and time, this coyness, Lady, were no crime." (Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress).
Long out of use, carpe diem rushed back into popular culture in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, with a teacher played by Robin Williams exhorting his students to seize the day. The more modern expression is "live in the moment."
In January 2014, I wrote in this blog, "Don't tell me to live in the moment. The moment is cold." A year later, I'm getting and sharing the opposite message.
Very interesting. Perhaps I just needed the reminder that my annual rant against the weather is silly within the greater scheme of things. It's nice to be reminded to seize the day.
Even if it is a frosty, foggy gray one.