It’s Coming Quick. It’s Coming Quick, the End is Coming Quick. 

ImageWinnie-the-Pooh was walking home one day when he passed a young man standing on a park bench.  The young man was shouting “Quick, it’s coming quick, it’s coming quick, the end is coming quick.”  This greatly distressed the Pooh bear who ran home as fast as his bear legs could carry him. After arriving home, he made a big honey and jelly sandwich on toast.  He had been saving this honey for a special occasion but since the end was coming quick, he decided he had better eat it as soon as he was able to.  After this, Pooh straightened up his abode and waited.  Pooh thought he might as well wait for the end to happen while he was home and warm and comfortable and feeling very nourished after his honey and jelly on toast sandwich.

ImageBut you know Pooh bears, they are not very patient.  Soon, Winnie-the-Pooh became restless and started wondering when the end was coming.  He began pacing back and forth and forth and back but the end still did not come.  Finally, losing patience, Pooh decided to visit his good friend Eeyore to see if he had any news on the end.  After a short trek over to where Eeyore lived in his house made of sticks. The two good friends met and embraced each other.  Quickly, Eeyore started worrying and wondering what was going to happen. If Pooh bear came to see him, something must be wrong.  Eeyore finally blurted out “Pooh, what is up, what is happening, why are you here?”  Pooh knew that Eeyore was easily unsettled but he felt that this situation warranted unsettling poor Eeyore.  Pooh said “Eeyore, the end is coming quick.”  “Oh my, oh my” said Eeyore, “That is a problem.  What do you think we should do?”  Pooh replied well “Do you have any honey or jelly?  We could make some honey and jelly sandwiches and wait for the end.”  Eeyore was not as fond of honey and jelly sandwiches but he had some good hay and aged straw that he had been saving and he invited Pooh to share it with him.  This was not exactly what Pooh had in mind but he watched and paced back and forth and forth and back, while Eeyore ate his aged straw.

tiggerFinally, after a very long time had passed (it was actually a very short time but it seemed long to Pooh and Eeyore), they both became restless again.  When was the end going to come?  Pooh suggested that they both go to visit Tigger since he is always very optimistic and might have a different view on things.  Hurrying over to Tigger’s house, they find Tigger out in the front yard playing with a balloon while bouncing up and down on a trampoline.  “Hi” says Tigger, “do you guys want to bounce on my trampoline with me.”  “No, no” says Eeyore, “this is very serious. The end of coming quick, we must be ready.”  “Fine with me” says Tigger, “but can’t we just bounce and play until the end comes?”  “Well,” says Pooh, “that would be fine but I am getting hungry. Do you happen to have any honey or jelly that I could make a sandwich with?”  “Sorry Pooh, but my cupaboard is bare, I have been too busy bouncing to worry about eating.”  So the three friends decided to just wait together for the end.  Tigger kept bouncing, Pooh kept feeling hungry and Eeyore kept fretting since he was becoming less and less certain that anything was really going to happen.

Eventually after a long bout of bouncing, Tigger became tired.  “I am going to take a nap” says Tigger, “if the end is coming, I would just as soon be rested when it does.”  Eeyore, more and more doubting that the end was really coming or at least that it would be quick also decided to go home.  “Bye Pooh, see you later” said Eeyore, “that is if there really is a later.”  Pooh was left all alone. Tired, hungry and confused, he was not sure what to do.  Then, in a flash, it came to him. I will go to see Owl.  He is the wisest animal in the forest.  He will know what to do.  So Pooh went off to see Owl.

owlWhen Pooh arrived, Owl was perched up in his nest.  “Hi” said Owl, when Pooh was still a long way off, he could see him coming. “What brings you to the forest today? Are you here to discuss the ethics of Aristotle or maybe you have come to hear about my life when I was a young owl about your age.  Did I ever tell you about the time that I met” —–“Ahem, ahem”, says Pooh, this is an emergency.  The end is coming quick. We must be ready. I tried to warn Eeyore and Tigger, but Tigger decided to take a nap and Eeyore went home. What are we to do?”  “My, my” said Owl, “You say the end is coming quick. Pray tell me what end is coming: the end of the ball game, the end of the warm weather, the end of the hunting season?”  All of these questions just confused Pooh.  He had no idea what end was coming.  He just assumed it meant the end of the world.  Why did Owl always have to make things so complicated?  “Well” said Pooh, “I am not really sure. I saw this young boy (who looked a lot like Christopher Robin) standing on a park bench shouting that the end was coming quick.  I am not really sure what end he meant, now that you have confused me so.  I just came to ask you for advice on what to do.  I am all out of honey and jelly and the end is coming quick.”

Owl thought about the situation and came up with the following poem that he had heard many years before: “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz, 1944

On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover,

A fisherman mends a glimmering net.

Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing

And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

 

On the day the world ends

Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,

Vegetable peddlers shout in the street

And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

The voice of a violin lasts in the air

And leads into a starry night.

 

And those who expected lightning and thunder

Are disappointed.

And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps

Do not believe it is happening now.

As long as the sun and the moon are above,

As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,

As long as rosy infants are born

No one believes it is happening now.

 

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet

Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,

Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:

There will be no other end of the world,

There will be no other end of the world.

Pooh honestly did not know what this poem meant or why Owl was telling it to him.  “Owl” says Pooh, “you are hurting my brain.  I am even more confused now then I was before. Couldn’t we keep this simple?”  “Well,” said Owl, “animals and people always want things simple.  But maybe, this is not so simple as you would think.  Perhaps we should discuss this further.”  “That is okay” replied Pooh; “I am too hungry now to worry about the end.  All I know is my stomach is growling and I need to find some honey quick to end the rumbly in my tummy.  In fact, maybe that is what the boy was trying to say.  I must find honey very quick or my end will be near.”  Thinking that this was wise advice, Pooh thanked Owl for his time and ran off to find some honey.  By the time, Pooh returned home, he had found a big stash of honey and had totally forgotten that the end was near.  Pooh made a great big honey sandwich and settled in with a large mug of hot chocolate and decided that the end was no longer near.  As long as he had good friends, honey and a comfortable home, that darn end (whatever it was) could come whenever it wanted to.

Time for Questions:

What do we all have in common with Pooh bear?  What end is coming quick?  When do you think the end will come? Are you ready for the end?  Should you care?  What do you have to do to be ready?  What if your end was tomorrow, what would you do?

Life is just beginning. 

My interpretation of this Winnie-the-Pooh story is based on a recent incident.  Last week while coming back from Minneapolis, I passed a young man standing on a park bench, who was shouting “It is coming quick, it is coming quick. The end is coming quick.”  I passed by him in my car and did not have the time (or most likely the desire) to find out what end was coming or how quick was quick.  I decided it would make a good blog.

A Word of Thanks to A. A. Milne who wrote the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  Adults and children will for all of time be inspired and grateful for his wonderful characters and stories.  Please buy the book if you have not read it:

Winnie-the-PoohWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.” 

 

 

 

 

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