A Pinprick of Eternity

Pauline at Lead up the Garden Path recently commented that  before she began  her blog she had never taken as many photographs,  and it’s definitely the same for me. We woke to such beautiful clear blue skies and a distinct whiteness to our neighbours’ field across the road that I took my camera into the garden before breakfast to look for frost-enhanced photo opportunities. We are relatively sheltered because the garden is fairly enclosed but there were a few examples, shown below, as well as a sparkly definition on the gnomon of the sundial in the centre of the rose garden. It isn’t an accurate sundial by any means, just a modern dial on a 300mm square slab on top of a reclaimed pillar – but it looks good.

Having decided to feature this picture I wanted to find a quotation related to ‘time’ for the post title – not surprisingly there was a huge choice in my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations but I got part way through the index and having looked up the fuller quote of this one and read more decided to go with it:

‘Every instant of time is a pinprick of eternity.
All things are petty, easily changed, vanishing away.’

Written, astonishingly, by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from AD161, who recognised 2000  years ago that we have but a fleeting role in the overall scheme of things and, that as such, everything is just as it should be:

‘He who sees what is now has seen all things, whatsoever comes to pass from everlasting and whatsoever shall be unto everlasting time.’

‘Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear.’

‘Everything is fitting for me, my universe, which fits thy purpose. Nothing in its good time is too early or too late for me; everything is fruit for me which thy seasons, Nature bear.’

Marcus Aurelius was noted especially for his Meditations, from which these quotations come, and for propounding his stoic views, the Stoics being members of an ancient Greek school of philosophy holding that virtue and happiness can only be attained by submission to destiny and the natural law. Whatever views we hold on destiny, we gardeners are well aware of the need to work within the natural laws of the universe – have we moved our tender plants inside out of harm’s way yet?

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4 Responses to A Pinprick of Eternity

  1. Christina says:

    Your frost-edged sundial is very beautiful and the leaves especially the fern are stunning. I’ll never look at the statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome in the same way again, I didn’t realise he was such an intellectual. Christina

    • Cathy says:

      I knew nothing about him till today either, Christina, other than the name – apparently he is regarded as one of the greatest emperors in Roman history, one of the ‘Five Good Emperors’. A highly intelligent man and a great military leader, he possessed a deep desire for peace that manifested itself in his philosophical writings. Please give him a pat on the back from me the next time you are in Rome – he has gained a new admirer! ps it’s surprising what you can learn when you are reading and/or writing gardening blogs!

  2. Thought I’d left a comment the other day, I typed it out, but maybe I forgot to press the posting comment button!First of all, thanks for the link. Love your sundial with its coating of frost. I was hoping to take some frosty photos over the weekend but obviously it wasn’t cold enough here, just the lawn was white but nothing else.

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