We have chosen to title the present writing with a designation, normally applied to non-deciduous trees, like the pine or spruce, which, dependably, retain their full function, regardless of the season. Like the continuous or enduring function of the evergreen tree, we invariably, retain our most consequential memories, albeit, possibly, colored by subjective or personal considerations, developed, since the event. Yet, since man’s life on earth is finite, so even such evergreen memories, perforce, are transient.
At an advanced stage of life, we find ourselves, on occasion, inclined to, review the many past decades, and extract recollected observations, some, positive, others perhaps, less so. In order that the review and evaluation of past actions and events to be useful and fair, one is mandatorily, taxed with the objective responsibility of recalling, the full context and relevant personal perceptions, extant at the time of the recalled memory. Retrospective judgments made without reconstructing the relevant facts, personal and objective, would offer little valuable insight, and, likely be erroneous.
We have often referred to a life-long, very significant inner phenomenon, which we have blithely and unscientifically, termed, “one’s lifelong, ongoing, inner conversation with himself.” Upon attaining adulthood, this inner communication largely, is guided by, and reflective of, our perception of our inner self-image. The latter, is ultimately, derived from conclusions, conceived, from personal evaluation of our typical past responses to stimuli, exercise of judgment and considered actions. Thus, by illustration, questions of morality, properly, ought to be resolved on the principle of consistency, with our moral self-image; and not, alternatively, based on the expectation of external rewards and punishments. The development of a consistent, realistic, self-image is absolutely, essential and well-deserving of lifelong, evergreen status.
In the course of our personal reflections, the eternally, available and useful, resource, is the precious facility of the human mind and its reference library of memories. With regard to long-term memories (evergreen) one must be scrupulously, careful, to recall the actual empirical facts, unaffected by subsequent ruminative, thoughts or images conceivably, recollected from past dreams.
Ordinarily, in the immutable and temporal passage of time, it is the ultimately salient events, which are evergreen in nature and readily, recalled, i.e., important family details, marriage, birth and personality of children, and the like; as contrasted with one’s mundane and unremarkable experiences, as above stated, which fade into oblivion. As to the latter, an Ashkenazi Yiddish aphorism translates to “The days are long, but the years are short.” Nuanced and material events, happily memorable or regrettably, painful, have a far better chance to earn a place in the evergreen catalog of our recollection.
Depending on the person, the occurrence of time-related changes, such as a child’s graduation from college, the marriage, or the birth of grandchildren, represent objective, indicators of the passage of time, and reminders of our temporality, and may become a cause of concern. The latter phenomena, empirically, vary in-depth with the personality yet predictably, at various moments in our life, we find ourselves concerned with the issue of our ultimate mortality. This may affect each of us in a nuanced fashion. It has been our observed impression, that individuals whose perception seem to be that of a life being well spent, or who accrue a sense of personal fulfillment, are less troubled, respecting this subject, than those, whose lives are perceived as empty and without present meaning. Whatever the differences may be, it seems natural to recognize (but not to perseverate) on the objective fact of our mortality.
At some point in life, we may take note of the instances of mortality among relatives and acquaintances and evaluate the evergreen recollections of such changes or losses, with feelings of depression, fear, or even mortal panic. In the confrontation of such matters, it is relevant to recognize the temporality of our lives, and of those close to us, with some apprehension; the frequency and degree of which, empirically varies with the occasion and individual personality. The evergreen recollections at this point, morph into immutable time markers, never to be repeated or relived, and, accordingly, as ominous reminders of the steady and immutable passage of unrecoverable, personal, lifetime.
Nevertheless, it is indisputable, that the dilemma of one’s painful vulnerability to the loss of loved ones is far preferable to the absence of such relationships, just as the dread of mortality is far preferable to the curtailment of the franchise of life.