Peter Pickering - Words and Worlds Interwoven

As I reflect on my life, the haunting melody and poignant lyrics of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" resonate deeply within me. This classic rock song, performed beautifully by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart with Jason Bonham at the Kennedy Center in 2012, serves as a metaphor for my journey—a tale of accumulation and loss, of rises and falls, and ultimately, of finding true enlightenment.

The song begins with a lady who is "sure all that glitters is gold," attempting to buy her way to heaven. This notion mirrors my younger years, where I equated success and happiness with material wealth and achievements. I pursued career goals, amassed possessions, and strived for social status, believing these would grant me fulfillment. My life was a series of ups and downs, moments of triumph followed by inevitable losses. Each peak was met with a valley, each accumulation with a subsequent loss.

In the second stanza, the lyrics speak of signs and realisations—of paths that we might have chosen differently. As the years went by, and I experienced the ebb and flow of life, I began to question the value of my pursuits. The losses weighed heavily, each one a reminder of the impermanence of material things. The journey became less about the accumulation of wealth and more about understanding my place in the world.

The mystical imagery of the piper leading us to reason struck a chord with me. In my seventh decade, after much introspection, I came to understand what truly matters. The material things I once