Friday, April 27, 2012


[Note: this is a piece I wrote last year and didn't publish then.]

Early morning, and the cats are already impatient to get out there under the cold rain. The world is full of meaning, in fresh bloom of mice and voles.

I am reading about regret this morning—the difference between regret and remorse. Regret etymologically arises from old words for weeping and groaning. In a state of regret, we swim in the shallows of recirculating emotion. But remorse goes to the depths. The dictionary says remorse is "a deep and painful regret." It means, literally, "to bite again."

"Remorse chips away at actions done from a place of insufficient wisdom and gives a fresh imagination to them." (Thomas Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul, p. 297.)

To feel remorse implies the presence of conscience, the guiding knowledge we have within ourselves about what is meaningful to us, what needs our attention. To change regret to remorse is to move from bemoaning to awareness and new understanding. Remorse asks that we attend, reflect, look further, sink deeper.

Cats do not appear to have regrets.

April, Onota Lake

1 comment:

  1. Love the etymology. And oh, some days, wouldn't you love to channel the indifference of cats?