The immediacy intrinsic to this our current version of life makes me feel as though I’m forever engaged in an epic battle against time. That’s fancy talk for: I spend most of my time feeling like the embodiment of an actual living, breathing Day-Late-and-a-Dollar-Short. I imagine myself as a Carnivale-esque side show has-been, the one they keep around out of pity and because they can’t remember when, where, or why the hell they picked me up in the first place, the one who is, the others whisper, a day late and a dollar short. It just makes sense that such a creature would be part of a creepy traveling circus. Punctuality would never condescend to the vagabond life, nor affluence. Late…short…miscreant! The very notion! Oh, the vapors they would suffer!
Time is nothing if not unforgiving. And a bit mean-spirited.
The colors insist I stop, and I find myself bending to their will. They will not be ignored. Neither shades, nor shapes, nor shadows. Each curve and highlight demands attention, and attention demands time, and time demands we decide what is most important in this moment. Be present and mindful, or miss your own life, the blooms bellow.
But if I don’t post to Instagram! (It’s been a week, which is a decade and a tumble into obsolescence in social-media-people time.) But if I don’t write new content for the blog! (I may as well have written my last installment in the back of a wagon headed to Oregon country.) But if I don’t tell all my stories, write them yesterday, which was still a day late! (Here hitches and glitches and subjectivity sandwiches abound, so we’ll return on another day for some storytelling sussing out.)
Time is a precious commodity. Maybe the most precious. How we spend our minutes, our hours, days, and years, reveals the story of what we value, our priorities, what and whom we cherish. It’s easy to forget this in the fray of it all, the daily busyness, the things. So many damn things. To do, to be, to post about doing and being.
We have redefined what it means to truly live, filled our lives with so many things it’s any wonder we don’t stagger around in a gluttonous stupor for all the living we network, organize, and add to our Google calendars.
But here, today, the story of an hour.
A flower I don’t know, with colors so rich, they entice. Shapes that call for investigation and awe for the craft of them. The way the sun illuminates the subtle curves and tints, shadows that would hide on a cloudy day. I have enough time for this. For these, I have time to linger. I heed their call, and I do not regret a second.
I fret over time. What I have, what I don’t, what I’ve lost and hope to have the good sense to wield like I would a pen and paper: To the fullest and with all my heart. It’s not in my nature, not in the nature of the culture in which I find myself enmeshed. But to speak out loud the better self I want to be seems like a good place to start. There and with these flowers on a sunny spring afternoon. Yes, a fine place to begin.
But Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the timepiece of the mind by one second.
– Virginia Woolf, Orlando