Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

It seems that time is a function of one’s commitments to be carried out when and as they could be and in the manner and fashion that they could be, as opposed to what was pronounced in Parkinson’s Law, first published in 1942 and which I once pandered, that work expands so as to fill the time in between for its completion.

Before I have time to take stock since the so-called third wave of coronavirus when we couldn’t go to a celebration party because of the spike even though we had booked a night for that purpose and were resigned to stay for the night in the hotel and based on which I wrote the last blog, it was more than ten days when Hong Kong recorded every day around 100 or more new cases of infection, and for which reason many activities have stood down or rescheduled. The result was that we have been staying home most of the time, going out daily only for the walk and rope skipping in the park downstairs. All scheduled meetings and activities were either cancelled or reduced to zoom meetings. Suddenly, time has been re-defined. The timetable or diary which one used to follow religiously and which dictates the emergence of decisions and action plans has become meaningless; and we now rely on announcements or notices through WhatsApp or emails on what have been agreed or cancelled and what would be the way forward, which makes time and work somewhat irrelevant.

It is in such time that mindfulness takes precedence on everything else. Living in the present moment or gather ye rosebuds while ye may has become the top priority. Nothing else matters. In case you are interested, the last quote which embodies the carpe diem philosophy which encourages young women to make the most of their youth and loveliness because it won’t last long, was from a poem by Robert Herrick (1591 – 1674) entitled, “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” which has in turn inspired an oil painting by the title of “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May” created in 1909 by British Pre-Raphaelite artist, John William Waterhouse.

I have been busy in the time I am kept in our flat to continue with my project on an autobiography I have been contemplating to write but on which I have not made too much progress.  Under the present circumstances however I have made more progress than I had expected, for which reason I have formulated the opening statement of this blog. In short, when time was frozen, anything could happen. One is no longer constrained by a set timetable or a routine, such that the sky is the limit, as far as creativity is concerned.

Halfway through dinner last night, while seeping champagne with Su, a message came through that a dear friend has departed a few days ago and that her daughter has arranged her funeral in two weeks’ time. That was very sad news indeed. Jenny would be in her late eighties or early nineties, and we have known her for some five or six years through the weekly Latin Dance classes we have been attending. She was full of life and vitality and was ever so lively and energetic. I was speechless when the news came through, and so was Su. She had always urged us to practice the routines after every lessons, or the benefits would be lost, so she said. She visited us in Mei Foo a few years ago shortly after our first encounter and we had a great chat and drinks session; and she was at our table at New Year Eve countdown and on other occasions. In short, she was great sport and good fun. I am so sorry to see her go without notice. We would sorely miss her, which has prompted me to remind my readers the title of this blog, “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May.”

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