Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Playing with Time

All my watches are broken. They sit in a bag in my closet, waiting to come back to life.  This past Sunday as Daylight Saving Time concluded for the year, I found myself pondering Time.

As a chronically tardy person, arriving on time would be a breakthrough, while arriving early would be revolutionary.

It's a comfort to know that I share this condition with others. The moral superiority of punctual people is lost on us. We dash off to each date with the high drama of the White Rabbit.

As the pendulum swings from the to-the-nanosecond accuracy I vow to follow with each time change, my clocks creep forward. The timer on the microwave is 20 minutes fast to keep me moving out the door and into the world, while the car clock is a quarter of an hour ahead, to keep me from driving like the proverbial bat out of hell down Highway One.

Playing with time, I hope, eternally, to arrive on time. (Only my wall clock is stopped at 4:20, in honor of the dear friend who bequeathed it to me, his time having run out.)

Unless I am at work, where I confess to being a bit of a clock watcher, I guess-timate time throughout the day. Perhaps the garden needs a sun-dial, the original clock,  to monitor passage of that big ball of  fire in the sky. Maybe I should acquire that most poetic of timepieces, an hour-glass, and watch the grains of sand slip away.

Right now, as I write this, the sun filters throughout the leaves of the elm tree above me, and I imagine it's after noon, but not by too much.

And now, the light has moved again, as I sit under the trees and feel it on my back as it spreads across the lawn at an oblique angle. What a privilege it is to feel the sun move across the sky, to sense the hours of the day move forward, measured only by the changing quality of the light.

I hear sea lions barking from a cove to the north of here, the sound travels all this way.  In the dawn I heard the yipping of too-near coyotes and multitudes of chirping finches. Sometimes the canyon air carries the breath of spouting whales, from the ocean way below.

Raking maple leaves, I watch them fall delicately, slowly, around me. I take laundry off the prettiest clothes-line in the world: removing a sun-dried white sheet to see the coastline to the south, the fog hugging the ridges like a soft down blanket tucked up into each canyon, up against each cliff.

Perhaps knowing the accurate time is over-rated, another side-effect of modern life. Living in the present moment can be accomplished gently, too. Maybe all I need to remember is the line from that wonderful old song, "Enjoy yourself... It's later than you think."

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think