We marked the day my father would have been a hundred by climbing Mont Caroux where we'd scattered the last of his ashes a few years previously. It's sobering to realise how little chance we have of reaching a century.
There's a famous Zen story about a man who - hanging over a cliff edge by a slender plant & threatened by a tiger from above - notices a wild strawberry. As the roots start to give way, he pops it into his mouth murmuring, 'Delicious'.
The dangling man seizes the moment. Ignoring his impending fall, he relishes the strawberry. You don't have to be clever to see the moral: life is short, grab it with both hands. Focusing fully - right now, right here - we accept what life offers. Knowing it won't last makes it sweeter.
This week's wildflowers are wonderful. Birdsong accompanies every cycle ride - today a nightingale's blessing. A croissant and a strong coffee in the church square - pure pleasure.
If this is so, why does Ryokan (1758-1831) weep?:
Although from the beginning I knew the world is impermanent, not a moment passes when my sleeves are dry.
We're happy; we're sad. Not the same; not different. And neither state endures.