I love the winter months. It is the best time of the year for several reasons. It ushers in the cool, crisp air, the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas and the New Year, and certainly the Christmas music that starts on Thanksgiving Day. The fond memories of chopping and splitting wood with my dad for the fireplace, which was used to warm the house during the winter months, the Christmas trees, decorations and lights throughout the city. Enjoying family time by the fireplace with homemade hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows and, of course, for the kiddos, one candy cane coming right up. Stargazing! After all, this month often brings the best conditions of the year for looking at the stars. I often find myself alone late into the night stargazing while my family prefers the comfort of the couch, blanket and the pop and crackle of the wood burning in the fireplace. But it is this time every year that I reflect on one of my favorite Sonnets by William Shakespeare. Why, you might ask? Maybe I had an awesome English Literature professor, which I did, Dr. Paramore. Or perhaps it is just this time of the year when the leaves on the tree begin to change color and eventually a few leaves remain before they are all gone. For whatever the reason may be, one thing is certain and that is, the weightiness (meaning) of this Sonnet has increasingly become heavier as I get older. Let us take the time to read this famous Sonnet by William Shakespeare before I briefly explain why I often reflect on this wonderful sonnet.

Sonnet LXXIII

That time of year thou mayst in me behold                 1st Quatrain
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day                    2nd Quatrain
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,                  3rd Quatrain
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,                   Couplet
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

In this sonnet, Shakespeare compares fading of his youth. His days are numbered. He is not sure when he will take his last breath, but he knows that it is near. In the first quatrain, he compares death to fall, while in the second quatrain he compares death to the end of the day, and finally, in the third quatrain, he compares death to a dying fire. While in the couplet, Shakespeare urges the young man to “love well” that which he must soon leave.

The third quatrain brings everything together. Imagine a fire that is about to go out. Where there is no more youthful, red hot fire, but just a glow that is getting dimmer by the moment. Time does not slow down for any man, nor can we go back. It indubitably speeds up as one gets older. While we have, the time let us do our best to make every opportunity, our best opportunity. Let us all make a real commitment in 2018 to make every day as meaningful as possible.

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” James 4:14-15