Each morning when I wake my 14-year-old son, I pull up his blinds and make a rather lame attempt at fatherly inspiration. Something like, ‘Nathaniel! Did you know that this is the first day of the rest of your life?’ On a good day he groans. On a bad day he … hmm, best not to say.
Can’t blame him really. Still, it’s true that each day is its own gift.
As I sat alone this morning on the Verandah, I watched an elderly man with a walking frame make his slow journey up Collins Street. I’m not sure where he was headed, but each deliberate step took such concentration he could barely take one of them for granted. As often as I’ve taken that same route myself, I doubt I’ve ever seen the footpath in quite the way he has.
In The Curly Pyjama Letters, Michael Leunig puts it with more poetry than I can muster … even on a good day.
In one of these letters between the sagely Mr Curly and the adventurous Vasco Pyjama, Mr Curly says this:
I have just remembered something! Each day is a lifetime.
In the morning we are born. The day lies before us: vast and bright and new. We say, ‘Good morning!’ as a prayer and a blessing because a good morning may bring a good day and a good life.
By lunchtime we have come to mid-life. We take a hearty meal and rest. We are in the midst of the day’s demands and we are doing our plain duty in attending to them. This is how we find out the truth about ourselves and the truth about the world. What a thing to find out! But we have to.
The evening is calm. We sup and reflect. We ready ourselves for the end and prepare for the hereafter: for the next day: a bit of tidying; a little reparation, some shared peace and pleasure and then a prayer on the pillow. An owl hoots. ‘It was a good life’ we say. A cricket sings, the lamp fades and it is over. We die.
So good evening Vasco; good day to you and good morning too!
Mr Curly XXX