Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Right Time is Now

Time slows for no one.
It’s 2014! Wow. Time flies. Another day, another year. It just keeps rolling by. And the older I get, looking back, the faster it seems to pass. In fact, it’s to the point where so many of the important events in my life feel like they happened too quickly. Sometimes almost in the blink of an eye. And l often lament their passing.
What probably trips me out most are the markers I put in place as a kid. They were sort of milestones; time-related signposts that, back then, seemed far-flung in the future. Yet today they are memories from my long ago past. Or that’s the way I perceive them. And I’m not sure how I feel about it all.
For instance, when I was eight, there was an outer space event I looked forward to that seemed impossibly far off, timewise. Halley’s Comet. It was scheduled to, and in fact did, arrive in 1986. It was something most folks would get to see just once in their lifetime because it only came close enough to Earth for us to see in the sky once every 76 years. As a kid, I anxiously awaited its arrival, though it seemed so far in the future.
Along the way a funny thing happened. The time for it to come came and went. On reflection, in the apparent blink of an eye. Yeah, the comet was traveling really fast through space but that’s not what I mean. During the days it was actually in our viewing skies, I remember thinking, “Dang, that was quick.”
1997's Hale-Bopp comet
Now I never actually saw that comet; it was cloudy where I lived. Besides, scientists confessed that it was not traveling as close to us as predicted, so it wouldn’t have been all that dramatic if it had been clear outside. But the point is that looking back, the apparent speed at which time passed (some 20 years) from childhood until that moment seemed fast.
It was the same sort of feeling at the turn of the century. When I was a kid, I remember thinking, “It’s such a long way off. By the year 2000, I’ll be too old to enjoy it. I’ll be over 40!”
Yet here we are 14 years after Y2K. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, but I’m no Methuselah either. In fact, I feel pretty much the same way I did that decade-and-a-half ago. Body aches and gray hairs aside. Oh and the bumps and bruises life has bestowed on me.
It’s interesting how the amount of time that’s passed seems not to have changed me in as dramatic a way as I thought it would when I was a child. Or maybe it has but I just haven’t noticed. Like the change of the seasons.
The tree in the foreground is gone, just like yesterday.
Take winter, for instance. It’s not my favorite time of the year. In fact, each August I dread its arrival, even though it’s still months away. Yet by the time the first real snowfall hits, it always feels like the most natural thing in the world. I welcome it. That is, until it’s time to clear the driveway.
Looking out the window this moment at the falling snow and watching it accumulate on the lawn and branches – it seems so right. There have been countless other snowfalls. Yet this one, right now, matters most.
So often, we look back on the past and think longingly about it. Or we look forward and anxiously await it. But I think, at least right now, it is today we should be focused on. Like they say, there’s no time like the present. This moment. This time. This place. Happy New Year.

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