Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of lent (or “vasten” -“fast”), a period of modesty and meditation, leading up to the return of the light. Probably simply a translation to religious terms of the hardship of winter. It gives a noble significance to the meager foods on the table during this period.
On Ash Wednesday, when I was young and attended catholic schools, we went to church. The priest would put some ashes on his thumb and then draw a little cross on our foreheads. Saying that we should remember that we are made of dust and ashes and will return to dust and ashes.
So we ran around all day in school trying to keep the ashes on as long as possible. We didn’t “remember” much of anything, as kids.
It makes sense to think about death when nature is cold and silent. In our modern age when there is never a shortage of anything, really, we have lost an appreciation of the natural cycles (of which we are still a part with our mortal bodies). Religion reconciled humans with nature. But now we’re disconnected from nature. Or at least we pretend we are.
Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
Images borrowed from Elevated and Jesterry.