I don’t know how to deal with the passage of time.
I walked out into the day this morning and could have sworn I felt a cool breeze. Immediately I was swept into full-throttle pining for the summer and heat to be over. Halfway through the dog walk I realized it would be a long while before any cool breeze had a chance to survive around here. I was covered in sweat and could see swollen red tongues hanging out of the doglets’ mouths.
Then I got frustrated.
Why do I insist on wishing these moments away?
Doesn’t time fly by fast enough?
And half the time I’m wishing for what’s already passed, for times that are over, waltzing through most days in a haze of nostalgia.
I take my vitamins with orange juice, and use this tiny juice glass my Grandma used to serve us juice. Every time I take those sips from that little, perfect glass, I can hear her voice asking me if I wanted juice with my breakfast, sitting at the table in her small kitchen, its walls covered in pistachio green tile with accents of black and yellow. She’s making me toast in their spring-activated toaster and washing tomatoes in the sink that she just brought in from the garden. I can hear Grandpa’s footsteps coming up the breezeway stairs, home from his morning coffee at the drugstore lunch counter. I think his coffee cost 20 cents, so he’d leave a quarter for the gals that served him each morning.
I love this truck! I want this truck! Look how beautifully it wears its changes, each rusty patch a hallmark of years passed.
Last summer we built our own fortress in the backyard, a succulent wall made of cinder blocks. Just how long will our wall stand? Will the next family that lives here someday keep it or tear it down? Will it be here 100 years from now?
I do much better when I pay closer attention to the succulents in the wall. Their changes are remarkable, sprouting little miniature versions of themselves from hither and yon, or a totally different plant reaching up from underneath the one we originally planted. They do so much, and they need so little, those sweet, magical succulents.
Our poor grass looks so tired. I think it’s ready for summer to be over, too.
I close today with my favorite poem, The Layers, by Stanley Kunitz. When I have such feelings of anxiety or conflict about change, I go to this poem.
I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray. When I look behind, as I am compelled to look before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey, I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites, over which scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings. Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections, and my tribe is scattered! How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses? In a rising wind the manic dust of my friends, those who fell along the way, bitterly stings my face. Yet I turn, I turn, exulting somewhat, with my will intact to go wherever I need to go, and every stone on the road precious to me. In my darkest night, when the moon was covered and I roamed through wreckage, a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: "Live in the layers, not on the litter." Though I lack the art to decipher it, no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes.
- Succulents: The Busy Woman’s Plant (proplants.com)