Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Theme Thursday: Beginning


Once upon a time, there was a lady named Liza, who carried her camera wherever she went. Her photographs were a joy to behold. Liza shared her photos with her friends at Theme Thursday. In the fullness of time, the Theme Thursday folks asked her to suggest a theme. Liza spoke right up. "Beginning," she said. "Let's talk about beginning." And there it was - the beginning of this week's assignment.

No matter how hard I try to think of beginning as a verb, it keeps turning into a noun.

I know, I know. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."

"I'm beginning as I intend to go on."

Of course beginning can be a verb (or even an adjective). It just feels like a noun, so I'm going to treat it (mostly) as a noun.

The image I've chosen (source here) illustrates one beginning, the beginning of a human life (well, close to the beginning). It's a time of joy and a time of hope, a fresh start - and it's the beginning of something else - a relationship between the child and her parents. This relationship grows from another relationship, that between the child's mother and father. In fact, it's hard to find the beginning of this story, because each life is connected to other lives, and something new, some new relationship, is always beginning. The child relates to her parents, then to siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Then she goes to school and begins her education. She also encounters other children. Some of those encounters will be the beginning of lifelong relationships.

At some point, the child, now beginning her life as an adult, might meet someone with whom she will begin a love relationship, and perhaps she will bear a child. Then the story will begin again, with a new baby, a new complex of relationships, on and on, ad infinitum.

But no. Life isn't just about beginnings. It is about endings, as well. Each beginning carries within it the seed of an ending. I am reminded of something T.S. Eliot wrote in Four Quartets 4: Little Gidding (online source here)
"....

V

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and [sic] end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments...."

When I started thinking about this post, I immediately developed an earworm - Art Garfunkel's "All I Know". It is such a lovely song, I didn't even mind, and it seems like a fitting end to this little post about beginnings - and endings.

17 comments:

Dreamhaven said...

Lovely post and all so true. Thanks for sharing

subtorp77 said...

Sandra, well done! And I forgot how mellow that tune was!! nice :)

The Silver Fox said...

I've always loved that song. Garfunkel's been somewhat eclipsed by Paul Simon's many accomplishments, unfortunately.

Alan Burnett said...

A thoughtful and enjoyable post, this is what TT is all about.

Baino said...

I guess without endings there cannot be beginnings. Poignant post and for a moment there I thought you were going to choose an image perhaps like Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' but the Garfunkel one was lovely. I always preferred him and lament that my 'Breakaway' album is only on vinyl.

willow said...

Beautiful Eliot piece. Now I've GOT to go pop in my S&G album....

Roy said...

Like the Eliot quote! Endings and beginnings morphing into each other always reminds me of the myth of Vishnu Nataraja, who beats on his double-headed drum (dimi, dimi, dimi, taka nan tana keylo), thus bringing about the destruction of the universe and consequently starting the process over again.

Brian Miller said...

wonderful post...loved the vid at the end...each new beginning must come with an ending...often painful as we wait in that tension between the two...

VE said...

Good points, all of them. I nearly forgot about that song. Simon may have been the song writer but there's no way he could sing out a song like Garfunkel.

Sara Williams said...

Good post and very true. I thought my diagnosis of breast cancer was the end and it was in a way and I started a new begining, a new me was born from the end. Does that make sense?

e said...

Lovely and thanks for the tune, a favourite.

Colette Amelia said...

Sandra what did you have for dinner last night? something was afoot! Roy told me of our like thinking and I was shocked at just how like it was!

bravo!

Wings said...

Great post, all around. :)

John Hayes said...

Beautiful thoughts on interconnectedness--thanks!

Marianna said...

It's like the circle of life...true:)

Great music too!
xoxo

Sandra Leigh said...

Greetings to Dreamhaven, subby, Silver Fox, Alan, Baino, willow, Roy,Brian, VE, Sara, e, Colette, Wings, John,and Marianna. Wow. We should all get to take Thursdays off, so that we can stay home and read TT posts. This is cool.

Art Garfunkel's voice is very lovely, but Simon still rules, imho. Paul can bring me to tears with the power of his lyrics, but Art makes me feel weepy just because he looks and sounds so sad. I don't think that's fair. ;>)

Special note to Baino: Who? Massive Attack? LOL. I checked it out on YouTube. Aha! The theme music from "House". I should get out more.

Oh yes, Roy. The end contains the beginning contains the end...

Colette, one of us has been reading the other's mind. But which? ;>)

Not For Jellyfish said...

What we call the beginning is often the end... Couldn't have said it better myself.

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