Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Treading the Primrose Path

My garden includes a primrose path. It's taking some work and replanting to get the plants established. But the gold and red ones have settled in nicely. In Hamlet, a play you may have heard of by William Shakespeare, a chick named Ophilia cocks off in the third scene of the first act thusly:

...But, good my brother,
Do not as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.
From what I've been able to find, Bill S. coined the primrose path phrase himself. The primrose meant beauty in the Elizabethan era and the path, of course, is life. It's a metaphor for a comfortable, casual existence.

Some times I think I'm on the primrose path myself, and I like it. As I write this I'm sitting on my deck looking out on blue and green leaves, purple flowers and the late afternoon sun shining on the grass. A wren is calling behind the pagoda dogwood and the water is splashing pleasantly in the rain barrel fountain. Soon I'll go in and enjoy a tasty and nutritious dinner. Tomorrow, after a few hours in the office my weekend will begin. I haven't decided exactly what that will include, but it's my time to do with as I will. This isn't the life I live all day, every day. But it's a state I strive for. It's the one that work and other obligations support. I'm not a puff'd and reckless libertine--at least not yet--but I believe there's an inherent value in enjoying life. There's a rede you can reck.

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