Monday, August 25, 2008

The Measure of Time

It's that time of year. The point in my summer when I realize the earth has shifted without my noticing.
The sun set a good 30 minutes earlier last night than it did the night before. Suddenly cicadas are fillling the air with a tremendous rhythmic zz-zz-zz-zz that is supposed to mean frost in 6 weeks. Six weeks! School busses are rumbling down the streets, brakes squealing as they pull up to load children born just yesterday for their first days of school. The sky is even a different color, just a bit bluer than before. The coneflowers are fading from their rich lavendar to a dull grey. Sunflowers that just yesterday were hilariously yellow are now bent under their heavy brown load.
My friend is writing a book. Her goal is a chapter a month. Suddenly she realized, like I had, the changing of the season. Months had gone by - what month was it? She couldnt say, but she knew she had 6 chapters written.
Another friend passed away recently. She'd lived 78 years. I'm certain that she saw her life as ridiculously short, although the last days were probably endless. At her funeral her life was recounted in laughter and tears, lessons learned and shared rather than units of time.
I'm setting a goal for myself. I'll share it with you when the time is right. Four days ago I was behind, yesterday I'm ahead enough to feel comfortable.
How do we measure time? It's a season, it's a goal, it's the number of ticks my clock makes in the earth's ciruit around the sun. When the kids were home it was measured in homework and grades and days left before leaving the nest.
Now it's measured in sudden moves of the earth. In chapters written, lives ended and paint tubes squeezed dry.
How do you measure time?


liza myers said...

Hurrah for goals... it's the only way I accomplish anything. Hurrah also for forgiving one's self when the goal is only partially accomplished. Keeping them all straight is the challenge. Your work is luminous.
Nice website!
liza myers
ps. found you through alyson s.

Karine said...

You are quite a writer, Patty. Love this post.