Friday afternoons were the most depressing part of the school week. Two periods of maths with Mr T was like a night spent with spondylitis. So, Sam, Tam, and I would take the short ferry ride across the River Clyde from Govan to Kelvin and after a short walk, we were in the grand Kelvingrove Museum.
Whilst Sam and Tam would head off to look at the Dutch Masters, I on the other hand, would always gravitate to a seven-century old tree stump in the Natural History section. I would run my fingers across its historical rings and feel its secrets like the voices concealed in the grooves of a ’78 vinyl record.
Nowadays, my Glasgow stump is considered an infant in dendrology circles. In Europe, a Bosnian Pine took root in A.D 941 when Vikings were pillaging islands and small settlement along Scotland’s West Coast. It has lived through the Reformation, the Renaissance, Hiroshima, the march of the Third Reich, and Brexit.
I’m always reminded of the historical march of time when objects and creatures have triumphed over man’s short seventy or eighty years.
We were reminded a decade ago about the death of Lonesome George, a Galapagos tortoise who lived for a century, but at the same time, aware that creatures such as whales and turtles with 160 birthdays, and jellyfish, that are gifted with immortality.
Perhaps it was with this thought in mind that Job, the ‘greatest of the Orientals’, asked the creator a rhetorical question and then answered it in his next breath: ‘If a man dies, will he live again? All the days I will wait until my renewal comes Job14:14.
We’ve all asked that question: right? No one wants to die, and when we do, we want to know if we will live again.
Mortality is never far away from my thoughts as I enter my sixth stage of life. I am still a youth in my heart who desires 5000 years like a giant sequoia. A renewal as Job put it.