Vita mutatur non tollitur

Solstice reflections.  When I saw the Latin phrase Vita mutatur non tollitur on the headstone on my grandfather’s grave, I just knew that my father had designed that monument.  He’s buried in the same plot.  The phrase comes from the old Latin Mass for the Dead and means “Life just changes.  It’s not taken away.”

I don’t think one has to believe in an immortal soul or the Resurrection of the Dead to see the truth in this phrase.  Although they are no longer in bloom, these bushes at the Rodin Museum still burst with color and life.  They’re not dead for the winter.  They’ve just changed.  They brightened my walk today just as their flowers did in the summer.

I am fortunate to live along the tidal portion of the Schuylkill River.  Every day I can watch as the level of the river rises and falls.  Just as we know that the light of our days will start getting longer after today, we know that tides will come in and tides will go out twice a day.  And life will change and change again and again.

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