Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Inevitability of the Passing of Time

It’s almost 6:30 AM on Wednesday, August 8, 2007. There’s a light, yet steady, rain falling complete with cloud cover that has colored the morning with a much darker light than what is usually found at this early time of the day. Undeniably however, the sun has quietly begun rising seconds later each morning, now it seems, and, thus, setting seconds earlier. This can only mean one thing - the same thing it means every year - the arrival of Autumn in the air. I can sense its inevitable approach. It’s delivery announcement is proclaimed in every prematurely fallen brown and brittle leaf that occasionally spins about my ankles in a crinkly wind dance during my daily power walk through the park. Summer is slowly evaporating like a bar of amber colored glycerin hand soap. I pick it up, use it, and carry its crisp scent on my hands and even though it never seems to change its shape, every morning, there is less and less of it for my enjoyment.

The other morning, I awoke in a slight panic from that very thought. Though it was nothing other than the fading ember of a forgotten dream, the first thought that clarified in my mind as I bolted up from my pillow was that August was suddenly here and that meant that the death-knoll for Summer had begun. I could hear Autumn’s foot steps scampering across the antique wooden floor of my front porch looking for a place to disappear like an over excited child in a game of hide and seek. Though it was hidden, I knew it was there, somewhere, trying not to giggle and waiting to be discovered.

Once I accepted the onset of the season, I was content again. I have always been an adoring fan of Autumn and all of its golden splendor usually proclaiming October as my favorite month of the year. Besides, I would be fooling myself to pretend that the seasons are actually arriving quicker than before. It’s only that I don’t have as many new days ahead of me as I did 20 years ago. The psyche makes that realization deep within yet tries to mask it with rationalization about how quickly time passes. If you’re my age, or older, ask a child, a teen or someone in their early 20’s how quickly time passes for them, and you’ll know from their answer - even if they lie to you - that they can’t really relate to your ever increasing sense of the sand speeding through the hourglass. How could they? Why would they want to? It’s inevitable, cyclic, entropic, and natural.

A very close friend of mine, who is about 15 years older than I, once described to me in analogy how she felt about her perception of the ever increasing speed of the passing of time. “Imagine yourself in a little row boat on a river somewhere,” she said. “When you’re a child and up into your early twenties, you can sit in the boat all day with no current to move you at all just laughing and splashing water with your friends. But as you get older, you start to notice a slight current which grows stronger and faster with each passing year."

I believe she likened her current boat ride to that of approaching white water. My speed is a bit different, not quite as fast yet. Though, make no mistake, I can feel the current now. When I place my hand in the water, I feel it moving steadily through my fingers and I can watch the fallen leaves smoothly glide by me. And though I am able to catch most of them in my fingers, a few now are able to get past me...

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