It begins back at the winter solstice. The time these humans have labeled December.
It’s an absolute leap of faith to look out upon the frozen tundra before me, waist-deep in drifting snow, to look up at the crystal clear starfield overhead, bright and brilliant seen through air that’s well below freezing, and to know our great green planet is making a shift, beginning her annual tilt, swinging the northern hemisphere toward the sun.
Each day lengthens, and from that point forward my mind is focused on the Longest Day, the summer solstice. Each day the sun’s arc swings northward, skating the ridgetop of Victory Mountain. Each morning gets brighter until the magical day when the sun arises at the same time as me.
Perhaps only a madman would “rage against the dying of the light”. Only a fool would watch and celebrate the imperceptibly slow revolution of our world, the gains of daylight, which our planet consistently delivers like cosmic clockwork.
These are things that are real, predictable, dependable, understandable. If these events were to change, if the year unfolded itself in a new and unprecedented way, it could only mean disaster at some level to the world we’ve come to know.
Alas, these days I question my logic, my approach, my eagerness to chase after the sun and the solstices.
Is this akin to rushing through the Fun House at the carnival because you want to get to the end? In doing so, we cut short the time we are enjoying the Fun House, we forfeit the extra time we’ve paid for. We rush through our only chance at this once-a-year offering.
“Time is not holding us. Time is not after us.”, or so say The Talking Heads.
These days it seems that time is a commodity. Carve out this chunk for work and this chunk for sleep. Write off those portions claimed by others for birthdays, weddings, funerals, dinner parties and club picnics.
I raise the giant sand hourglass that is my life. Like Dorothy in the castle of the Wicked Witch, I gaze at the red sand ceaselessly flowing, draining. Running out.
There’s no bucket list, no unfulfilled lifelong dream. I’m not that complicated, organized or energetic. There is, however, still a lot of work to do, and I’m not sure how much I can cram in before the red sand runs out.
I’ve heard folks say, interpreting Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”, that there’s symbolism in there for suicide. The line “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,” seems to evoke an impression among people that the author wishes to lay down and die here and now.
Of course, the next two lines are: “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” I think Frost was just watching the red sand flow. Wanting to take a break and rest, maybe wanting to lay his burden down.
Yet each day we awake and have a little more time before us. A few more miles, a few more promises fulfilled. And so it goes.
The Talking Heads are right, of course. Time is not holding us, time is not after us. There is potentially plenty of wisdom, symbolism and philosophy in that little ditty.
Of course, The Talking Heads also say “There is water at the bottom of the ocean.”
No denying the logic, I suppose.
Both statements are true and accurate.
And the red sands flow.
Be at peace,