© R. L. Whitney. Originally published on June 2, 1998
It would seem that what Robert Browning called “the last of life, for which the first was made,” should have worked out differently, if he was right. Having survived the raising of the children and gotten to approximately the age RB was talking about, I find myself coping with bloodthirsty hummingbirds and a teen-aged cat.
In India, the Hindus traditionally held that life was divided into four stages, each lasting for twenty years. The last of the four, coming after the householder stage, allowed one to wander off, free as the birds, to seek enlightenment--or at least travel about with a begging bowl seeking food.
The traditional Hindu teaching does not seem to have transmitted itself to the West in the way that might be hoped. Enlightenment is hard to come by, and few there be that seek it, no matter what you may have heard. But, hey, the news isn’t all bad. The scarcity of enlightenment is the very reason democracy works so well. Can you imagine the disruption that would be caused if we actually elected someone who knew what was going on?
Words & Images
We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.