Thursday, December 31, 2009

much to long to bother reading

I am old. I know it. I have know it. I've know it for a long time now. As James Barrie puts it,

"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end."

I don't remember knowing then, but it is not so much farther along that I began to realize it. It starts I think, with the subconscious switch in the perception of time. For a child an hour is eternity to wait, a day is cruel and unusual punishment, and a week, well a week is a lifetime for a child. The time stretches and is visible to children -- eternity is palpable. Like a fence seen from a child's low-to-the-ground view, it runs along unending in their sight, the far side a mystery, barely contemplatible let alone comprehensible. But they would never guess, that only a little higher up a grown can see the fence -- beginning, middle, and end -- from a little higher up the world is altogether unremarkable, unmysterious.
Time too, changes from a higher view. It no longer stretches, but flows now like a river. A casual observer might think that the same waters lingers between the banks, but a keen eye observes that the water rushes by all too fast, it is just that most water is the same. Unremarkably similar, only a passing branch, a leaping fish can make the water of a river distinct and noticeable. And only some cataclysmic event can slow or forestall the passage of time.

Just nap for an hour
the mother said
an hour and then you can play.
An hour! An hour!the child cried
it might as well be a day.

Just wait another month
the father said
A month and then you can drive.
A month! A month!said the teen
it might as well be five.

Just another year
the professor said
a year and you'll have your degree.
A year! A year!the youth sighed
it might be the end of me.

Forever the man said
forever I'll be with you.
Forever! Forever!the woman smiled
that's long enough if its true.

A lifetime
the grandmother crooned
A lifetime is yours now to spend
A lifetime! A lifetime.
Which is not very long in the end.
But it is not only the different view of time that separate the old from the young, it is the difference of experience. Sometimes it is the simplest of matter that draw our attention. Change in its creeping forms. Gas prices rise. Stamps cost more. A shift from longing to run the money in at the gas station, to loathing. For some we go from spending to earning. Paying bills rather than playing office with them. The mirror is a tool not a toy, preparing us for the day. Little cares, we begin to pick up. Responsibilities gained one at a time. Grabbed with joy, until one day we find our hand are full,our back is aching, and there is a long path in front that promises only more to hold.

One day we wake up, and we realize that all our childhood we thought we were living life. Now we seen that life is up ahead and we have been and are preparing to live it. School a first job a better job, a car, a phone. The prerequisites of living they seem at the time. And onward we slog, aware now that time flows, nae rushes around our ankles, and if we slip we will be drug farther along than we care to go. Sometime we fight the current, sometimes we wade to shore for a moment, then back in and down river we go.

Spring and Fall: to a Young Child
Gerald Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

I know now, that I am old. I see time passing much to quickly around me. I see that scourge, the inevitable Change, around me daily. I work for the day when I may begin to live. I feel the press of rushing water.

But I live in hope, that one day I shall awake again and this time find that I am beyond old. I will know then perhaps that living is what I have been doing my whole life, that preparation can never prepare you, that time is a river along which the wise will float slowly down, and that age is irrelevant. Yes, I will once more taste eternity, a real and yet mysterious fact.

I use to take the wooded lane
and walk among the grass
unbothered by the cares of time
the hours slowly passed
But now I walk around the woods
As quickly on my way
I go on with the cares of life
Through the quickly passing day
Yet still I glance into the trees
And wonder,wonder, why
It seems that there among the shade
Life is passing by.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday crunch

Guess what! I just remembered the most fascinating bit of information. . . . I have a blog! No really, I forgot. It was that holiday crunch I suppose. No not the shopping I had that done weeks ago. And the wrapping too.

It was the, " last-min-baking-cookies-without-any-baking-soda-so-they-are-hard-as-rocks-my-fingers-are-green-from-helping-Letha-make-a-Christmas-tree-for-her-littlest- pet-shop-creatures-(never hold while the ten year old paints)-oh-no-everyone-else-sent-cards-and-I-didn't-who-should-I-call-and-who-don't-I-care-enough-to-bother-with-I-wish-I-didn't-work-so-much- Why-can't-the-hospital-be-closed-on-Christmas-(God would heal everyone I bet)-sleeping-in-till-eleven-doesn't-count-if-you-don't-go-to-bed-till-three-I-have-eaten-nothing-but-sugar-since-last-Friday-yeah-freezing-rain," kind of feeling that got me I think.

But tomorrow is Christmas, my favorite holiday ever, and I will feel better soon. Just as soon as I am homeward bound in my lovely, Jeep. Brr. (love you anyway Jake)

PS - Jake is the Jeep
PPS - All my friends were naming their cars so I named mine to
PPPS - Just in case your wondering, if all my friends jumped off a bridge I would gage the depth of the water, height of the bridge, and estimate the speed of the current before jumping in. But then I would jump in regardless. (hey they're my friends!)