Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Carpe diem

This is Richard’s last column for the Reporter, which he filed last week and was published in our Feb. 18 issue.

Richard passed away unexpectedly on Thursday. The Reporter has posted his obituary (shelter-island-reporter-obituary-richard-joseph-lomuscio/) and will print the obituary next week.

A remembrance of our good friend and colleague will also be posted and published next week.

There will be a visitation at the Shelter Island Funeral Home on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 2 to 5 p.m., 23 West Neck Road.  A graveside service will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25,  at 11 a.m. at the Emily French Memorial Cemetery on Thomas Street.

The headline of this column is a Latin expression for “seize the day” and it’s applied to themes often found in lyric poetry — to enjoy life’s pleasures while one is able.

Seventeenth century poet Robert Herrick is famous in literature anthologies for his poem called “To the Virgins, To make Much of Time.”

His first stanza is very clear about the theme:

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a flying;

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.”

He’s very direct in his message to make the most out of our time here on this planet.

I’m not here trying to evaluate all of Herrick’s poetry or the poetry of others. I’m just remembering what it was like as a 14- or 15-year-old to fully get what these old guys meant. At 14, all I wanted to have happen was to get older and experience the rewards of adulthood. Things like a driver’s license, a car, college and an apartment were all in the future.

Independence.

So I must say that I didn’t fully understand the poet’s message. After all, I had  my whole life ahead. Then, like many of my readers, all of a sudden I’m 70 or more. The meaning of “carpe diem” takes on a whole new perspective. Something like: “Since I don’t have that much time left, how can I make the most out of each day?”

This is very difficult for seniors now during this COVID thing. Enjoyment of our precious time left is difficult because of all the restrictions we face from an unseen enemy that has the ability to kill us.

Getting in line for the vaccine is one step to take, hoping that it will be here soon.

Also taking advantage of the beauty that our island has to offer. Go walk along the beaches and breathe in the fresh, crisp air. Set aside some time to experience nature and walk through Mashomack or some of the many other hiking trails throughout the Island.

Most of us can also just look out a window and marvel at the beauty of the turkeys, the deer and the other colorful wildlife we have around us.

And learn how to use Zoom to enjoy the programs available to us at the Library. There’s plenty going on in cyberspace so we don’t have to visit in person if we don’t want to. However, the Library is open, with restrictions, for visitors.

It doesn’t make good sense to stay sequestered and watch TV. But I must admit that occasionally I fall into the trap of watching 50-year-old TV shows.

There’s something comforting about being transported back to a simpler time — and when we were younger.

I don’t think it’s too healthy to live in the past. Let’s use the present and the future that we have. And while getting locked in by the virus — and now the snow and ice — it’s common to wish for the summer, the best time ever here. Just make the best of the snow and ice and the time indoors.

I have painted and refurbished three rooms in my house. At times it was a fight, but when completed, I had a real sense of accomplishment.

And before we know it the vaccines will be here. And summer will be here!