What is the Point of an Ice Sculpture?

Would you spend time on an ice-sculpture?

I am often amazed at the skill and time that people spend on ice-sculptures. Some of them are absolute works of art, and yet within a few hours they melt away to nothing. I wonder, is it worth spending all that time on something that melts so quickly? Or is it more beautiful because it’s fleeting?

You might remember that Husband spent time earlier this year emptying a flower bed, filling it with compost, then planting hundreds of tulip bulbs. (He had help. Not from me.) I teased him when he regularly checked the bare earth for signs of shoots. I bought plastic tulips online and crept down one night to put them under his frost-proof cover. But eventually, the tulips blossomed, and they now look rather lovely. However, several gardening-friends have said that they hope the tulips reappear next year, because tulip bulbs don’t always survive as well as daffodil bulbs. Was all that effort for one display? Was it worth it?

The ducklings I hatched are now outside. They’re safely in a cage, and I waste lots of time watching them. Their main aim in life seems to be to fill their water container full of mud, and to spread the water as far as they can. They are happy creatures. But in a couple of weeks I will put them on the pond. Some will fly away, some will get caught by the fox, some will hatch more eggs. But wild ducks don’t tend to last very long—the ducklings I nurtured last year have mostly gone and I am left with just one. Was it worth it?

Ducklings snuggled with the chick.

I sometimes struggle with the “Is it worth it?” question. As I get older, I realise that life itself is very fleeting. If you have studied history, or read about the empires in the Bible, lives seem even more fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow. Think of your own dreams and ambitions, how many have you realised? Is there still time to make them happen?

I feel that life itself is a little like an ice sculpture. We do the best we can, but we know it won’t last, and as we get older, we realise how quickly it will melt. But is it still worth doing? Is it worth creating something beautiful, even knowing that it won’t last, simply because it is beautiful?

I think that perhaps I must answer yes, it is. The shortest life has value. The melting sculpture is still beautiful.

I hope you create something beautiful with your life this week. Even if it is fleeting.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
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