I’ve loved this poem for a long time. Linda Pastan’s idea of an almanac of last things inspires me in a way that a “bucket list” does not!
The Almanac of Last Things
by Linda Pastan
From the almanac of last things
I choose the spider lily
for the grace of its brief
blossom, though I myself
but I choose The Song of Songs
because the flesh
of those pomegranates
all the frost of dogma.
(Excerpted from Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998. Read the full poem here.)
I know there are folks who don’t want to contemplate the end of life, or any sort of loss, before they get there. For them it drains joy from the present moment.
For me, it’s the opposite. Every reminder that there will be a last this and a last that — including a last moment — deepens my gratitude for this moment and helps me “be here now.”
So a “last thing” has several meanings for me. It’s among the last things I want to give up. It’s among the things I want to be holding with gratitude and grace when my last moment comes. And it’s among the things I will need to let go of at the end, so it’s important that I appreciate it fully right now.
P.S. The ocean and the full moon are in my personal Almanac of Last Things. Both of them say life in a big way to me. And both are on the long list of blessings for which I can only say a heartfelt “Thank you…”