The Last Day’s Journey

My favorite poet of all time is American Poet, Walt Whitman! Today, I wish to share with you two of his poems that speak to me in times like these.  I am surrouded by a million invisible miracles — I see them everywhere, but only when I take time to see. Cherish each moment, each ray of sunlight and each new strand of life around us.

Song to Myself
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the crow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels.

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any I love,
Or sit at a table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or the stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring,
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of waves—the ships with me in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

In Earth, My Likeness, Nature Poetry of Walt Whitman, Edited by Howard Nelson, 2010

A Day’s Journey began on March 6, 2020 over 54 days ago, with the Covid Health Crisis forcing my husband and I to start staying at home to protect our health, save the lives of others, and to help our first line health care workers to deal with the onslaught of sick and dying people from this new disease devastating our communities. Also, it hit so close to home with our daughter being sick with a respiratory illness starting in February then through March.  She has recovered but could not get tested at the time, but we do believe it was the Covid’s ugly virus that attacked her. Someday soon perhaps, she will be able to be tested for the Covid-19 antibodies.  Thank God that over time she healed!

During March and April, I watched my favorite show and characters, Claire & Jamie Frazer, in Season 7 of the Outlander Series on Starz. The Outlander Episode Five, The Ballad of Roger Mac, continued the story where the frontier family and settlers from America’s Fraser Ridge are involved in scrimages with the British Army. Roger, as a messenger, travels alone and tries to warn their friends to pull back as a British attack is imminent.  He falls into British hands, only to be hung from a tree and found after the scrimmage by Jamie & Clair. They take Roger down from the hanging tree and Claire performs a field trachometry, and he breathes again. He is alive! They take him home where Clair, who is a doctor, takes care of him throughout his recovery. Roger does get better and though he physically heals, he cannot speak. Clair comforts their family that Roger will indeed make a full recovery. She says, “You know what they say, time heals a thousand wounds!”

Then during that same time frame, I watched the 2019 movie staring Mel Gibson called, Professor & The Madman on Starz Movies. The movie is based on the true story of James Murray, a professor at Oxford University who created the first Oxford Dictionary with a team from Oxford and help from Dr. William Chester, who was imprisoned in an insane asslym for the murder of a man whom the doctor thought was going to kill him. Professor Murray befriends Dr. Chester, who answers an ad placed in a newspaper.

Dr. William Chester then goes on to write tens of thousands of new word entries for Professor Murray’s dictionary. The movie is excellent and moving as well. It brought me to a new understanding of how the Oxford Dicitonary came about and a historical look back at the years that went into its development.

So many images, experiences and words have stuck with me over this last month, and I have held onto re-ocurring thoughts dealing with time and healing.  As curiosity overtook me, I began to explore more about the origin of words and how their meanings evolve. Therefore, I decided to focus my new research starting with each word in the above quote, “Time heals a thousand wounds” focusing on each word, and trying to pull meaning related to these times today.

Time, Healing, Thousand Wounds
A point of time can be measured in minutes or days, but it also elapses over time. We mark the passage of time by events that are taking place, or will take place, or have taken place. We know time is held in the past, present, and future or taken as a whole.
The origin is of Old English tima, of Germanic roots; related to the word tide, which demonstrates the organic sense of ocean tides. The Encyclopedia Wikipedia states the earliest use of time as a verb dates back to the late Middle English as, in do something at the certain time.

The Oxford Dictionary entry for time states definitions for noun and verb:
The word time is a noun
1 what is measured in minutes, hours, days, etc.
TIME + VERB elapse, go by, pass As time went by we saw less and less of each other. The changing seasons mark the passing of time. | fly How time flies! | drag Time drags in this job. | healsth Time heals all wounds.

In reviewing the Oxford Collocation Dictionary, we can find the term “healsth time” with the explaintion of “heals all wounds”. Healsth time, healing time, and time heals, points to a common phrasing of an understood concept across cultures. Connecting healing and time together.

The phrase “in one’s own time” shows the linkage to time is an individual perception and each person may experience time differently as well as their course of healing. Indeed “time to heal” is shown to be dependant upon many factors such as age, gender, race, religion, poverty, access to care, access to medicines, as well as, the individual decisions that we all make by our own actions, both invidually and collectively as a society.

Perhaps “time” and “healing” do somehow go hand-in-hand; i.e., as we know that extending both physical, mental and emotional recoveries for a period of time can extend/renew a life, heal a sickness, or repair “a thousand wounds”. When we use the word “thousand” it is done so as a strong adverb relating to boundless injuries or wounds.

Historically, we can find evidence of “time heals wounds” being used in Roman times through the comic plays of Terence, a Roman playwright. His plays were performed in public from 170 BC and 160 BC. “In Act III, scene 1, line 12 (421) various translations would be: Time removes distress, time heals all wounds and time assuages sorrow”. [ <ahref=””>en.m.wikiquote.orgsource)%5D

To be continued . . .