Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hourglasses and Sand

It is almost incomprehensible to me that we shall arrive this weekend at what is - for all practical purposes - the mid-point of summer's final month. By this time next month, school-age children across these United States will not only be back at school but a sizable percentage of them will be anywhere from one week to three weeks deep into the 2011-2012 school year. Winter in this part of the world seemed particularly unkind this year - as it had last year too. And suddenly Autumn is upon us. Where did the time go?

I reckon that August shall be tricky business in the homes of my sisters Jill and Kara. Each of them is readying a soon-to-be first-time collegian for an initial matriculation between now and month's end. Kara and Russ will now dip two full toes into the font of higher learning with Randy joining his big brother R.J. as a collegian - albeit on two different campuses and in two different states. Jill and Joe are opening a new chapter in the Big Book of Parenting as they prepare to bid adieu to their first-born.

Time moves so damn fast. And while I remain at a loss as to whether its speed has increased or mine has decreased as I have gotten older, the effect is the same: it moves faster and faster all of the time. Now and again it seems to me as if it was just yesterday that we were gathered in the backyard on Labor Day weekend celebrating Rob's trip home from his training at FLETC. That celebration took place in fact three Labor Days ago. Not only has he been out of FLETC a long time, he now has close to three years invested as a resident of the Mountain Time Zone.

Now and again it seems as if it was not all that long ago that we were setting up tables in the yard as we hosted parties to celebrate Suz's and Rob's graduations from high school. Then I catch a glimpse out of my eye's corner of either of my "children" and it takes a moment to realize that I am looking not at a boy or at a girl, but rather at a young man and a young woman. Each of them is making their way in the world. I would wager that the steps they have walked since they were but children all those summers ago to arrive at the point in time where each is presently are not all steps that they ever envisioned themselves having to walk.

Just a month ago, the sun was poking its head above the horizon line not too long after 5:00 a.m. and not sinking slowly into the Western sky until 9:00 p.m. These days, it rises after 6:00 a.m. and calls it a day closer to 8:00 p.m. The days remain hot and the nights remain warm so maybe we do not pay as much attention as we otherwise would to time's war of attrition on daylight. Soon enough, it shall have our full and undivided attention. Summer is in its final weeks. September will be upon us soon after and hot on its heels will come the relentless march into winter's depths.

And it is coming with us impotent to stop it. So what can we do? We can not spend any more time than necessary worrying about it. It is coming whether we like it or not. We can recognize its constraints and its corrosive properties without permitting it to diminish us. As the great Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

It is time after all. It is going to be spent. One might as well strive to spend it well.


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