Gather While Ye May

Gather While Ye May

Gather ye (rosebuds) while ye may.

—ROBERT HERRICK, 17th century


I’ve always been partial to this sentiment in both its literal and figurative influence.


Just the other day I read about a recent study that resulted in the “astounding” revelation that socializing and building lasting friendships can extend life. Based on the poetry of Robert Herrick and the contemplative commentary of many early literary observers, this notion was obviously apparent centuries ago. But hey, nice to know that social science has confirmed their early observations.


When it comes to “gathering,” thankfully we no longer have to send out the woodsman to fell a stand of trees to heat the castle for guests or mount a trusty steed in order to bring down a wild boar for dinner. All we have to do now is swing by Midtown Market and pick up some Boar’s Head when the gang arrives for a get together. However, there still ARE those who take seriously the obligation of being “keepers of the flame” when it comes to roasting that foraged fare. (Read on for details!)


Despite the differences between the 16th century’s social systems and a 21st century soiree, gathering is still the preferred practice of making LIFE more meaningful.


A Duke professor and her colleagues discovered in 2001 that among adults with cardiac disease, the risk of death was 2.5 times higher for those who were socially isolated than for their socially connected peers. And we’re not talking social media here friends, we’re talking . . . well, talking. Like dropping into the Juniper Room for a cocktail and a chat. Or volunteering for a great cause like Heartland Cares. Or taking the family for an outing at the River Discovery Center this summer. Or soaking up a riverfront sunset with friends—simply living in the moment—together.


The author Robert Brault wrote, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”


Today and every day, gather while ye may.


Darlene M. Mazzone

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