Yesterday was my 46th birthday. Another year. Another milestone. Another day that we attribute significance to as a way to try to keep time. A strange saying, that. “Keep time.” As if it’s a commodity, like money or food, which can be squirreled away for a time of greater need. News flash: It’s not. Despite popular idioms, time cannot be “saved” or “spent.” It cannot be “kept” or “given.” And it most certainly cannot be “captured,” like some sort of wild prey. It just…is. Like nature, and the passing of seasons. Like that ephemeral moment when the shadows of late day somehow, possibly when you blinked, gave way to the gloaming. It is to be savored, appreciated, and allowed to pass…making room for the next moment.
When my mother died, I inherited a bit of her jewelry. Most of it was bits and bobs, but among them were quite a few watches. Most were merely fashionable baubles with no more value than the sentimental. The batteries had long since died, but I took to wearing them anyway. A reminder of my late mother, to be sure. But also to mark that moment, forever frozen, when the watch’s rhythmic ticking gave way to stillness. A testament, perhaps, to the fact that time waits for no one.
This year, the heat of summer is scorching. Heat indexes of 120 degrees dot the Oklahoma weather map. While Oklahoma heat is well known, it came soon this year, and it burns away the last of July. The days of loitering in spring’s cool days seemed fewer this year, too soon taken over by the oppressive blaze of the summer sun. But a couple of turns of the calendar and it will be autumn. Heat will give way to chill as green succumbs to shades of russet…just before winter the cold of winter settles in the bones.
For now, though, I hurry to water things, only to hurry to harvest them. And then, if history is any indicator, I will overwinter with a pile of seed catalogs and grandiose dreams of the next planting, the next season, the next year, the next…
A glance at my wrist, however, stills that. The unmoving hands, a reminder to still myself. To breathe. To look around. To truly see what surrounds me in this moment. To appreciate it before it, too, moves forward, hurling toward the next great, unpromised unknown.